Governor Tom Corbett, PA Board of Pardons, District Attorney Seth Williams:Grant Clemency to Terrance Williams, Survivor of Child Sexual Abuse
  • Petitioned Governor Tom Corbett

This petition was delivered to:

Governor Tom Corbett
District Attorney Seth Williams
PA Board of Pardons

Governor Tom Corbett, PA Board of Pardons, District Attorney Seth Williams:Grant Clemency to Terrance Williams, Survivor of Child Sexual Abuse

    1. Petition by

      Sue Osthoff

      Philadelphia, PA

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is preparing to execute Terrance “Terry” Williams on October 3, 2012, in spite of staunch opposition to his execution from the victim’s widow, five jurors from trial, child advocates, former prosecutors and judges, faith leaders, mental health professionals, law professors and others.

I urgently appeal to Governor Tom Corbett, the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons, and District Attorney Seth Williams to spare Terrance Williams’ life and allow him to be sentenced to life without parole.

Throughout his childhood, Terry suffered prolonged violent physical and sexual abuse from older males. Born into poverty with a violently abusive mother and absent father, Terry faced abuse and neglect in his home that made him vulnerable to sexual predators. He was first raped by an older boy when he was only six years old, and he continued to suffer sexual abuse for the next twelve years.  Like too many other victims of child sexual abuse, Terry received no counseling or support to help him deal with the repeated traumas he endured; in fact, some of the people who were supposed to help Terry preyed on him.

As a teenager, Terry became acquainted with two middle-aged men who used their influence as a church leader and as a sports booster to get access to young boys. These men sexually abused and brutally exploited Terry. After years of suffering unimaginable horrors, when he was 17- and 18-years old, Terry killed these two men – and now faces death.

Terry’s tragic history of abuse was never presented at trial. Because of this, several jurors who sentenced him to death now support commuting his sentence to life without parole. At the time of trial, Terry was traumatized and ashamed of the violence he suffered, and his lawyer did not investigate obvious signs of abuse. The jury thus did not hear any evidence about the relentless abuse Terry faced, nor did they know that the two men he killed were in fact his abusers.

Jurors have stated that that if they had known all the facts about Terry's background and his abuse by the men he killed, they would not have voted for death.

The widow of the man whose killing resulted in Terry’s death sentence has forgiven Terry and does not want him to be executed.  She has found peace and closure and does not wish to see any more loss of life. The victim’s widow has expressed herhope that Governor Corbett, the Board of Pardons, and District Attorney Williams will show Terry mercy.

In addition to the victim’s widow and jurors, there has been an unprecedented outpouring of support from prominent groups and individuals across Pennsylvania. Child advocates, former prosecutors and judges, faith leaders, mental health professionals, law professors and others have publicly supported commuting Terry’s sentence to life without parole.

Terry is deeply remorseful for his actions and prays that the families of the men he killed can find peace.

You can read more about Terry's case, including the numerous letters in support of clemency, here: www.TerryWilliamsClemency.com

I join in asking Governor Corbett, the Board of Pardons, and District Attorney Williams to spare Terrance Williams’ life. 

Recent signatures

    News

    1. A Message on Behalf of Terry's Supporters

      Emilia Gutierrez
      Petition Organiser

      Terry Williams' life has been spared for the time being. Pennsylvania courts halted Terry's execution scheduled for October 3. In the coming months, the courts will consider whether Terry is entitled to a new sentencing hearing where evidence of his sexual abuse can be presented. Terry's case also remains under advisement by the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons, who agreed to reconsider Terry's petition for clemency after their initial vote on September 17. On behalf of Terry's supporters, we are so thankful to each and every one of you who signed this petition and added your name to the chorus of voices calling for mercy in this case.

    2. Campaign Update

      Emilia Gutierrez
      Petition Organiser

      On September 17, the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons denied Terrance Williams' clemency request, despite the fact that a majority of the Board, by a 3-2 vote, recommended to spare his life. Pennsylvania requires a unanimous recommendation in favor of clemency in order for clemency to be considered by the Governor. Attorneys for Terry have filed a request for reconsideration with the Pardons Board. Notably, the majority vote came from the three members of the Board who have the most experience with victims of child sex abuse and victims generally, including the Pennsylvania Attorney General, the Victim Representative, and a mental health expert. Please add your name and encourage the Pardons Board, Governor Tom Corbett, and District Attorney Seth Williams to spare Terrance Williams' life and allow him to be sentenced to life without parole

    3. Reached 300,000 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Tokunbo A. S.F., CA
      • 2 months ago
      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Dawn Coughran ALBUQUERQUE, NM
      • over 1 year ago

      It's ridiculous. He needs not to die.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Aneita Pringle OTTAWA, CANADA
      • over 1 year ago

      Violence, particularly that which results in the death of a victim can never be condoned; however, a society reacts to the loss of life with the additional loss of life to me is nonsensical. Circumstances such as those faced by Terry are tragic and call for compassion. A victim when he was 6 years old with virtually no support system, he was failed in every way a child can be failed. And continues to be failed. It would be difficult to find a person more deserving of clemency than Terry.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Linda Thomas CHICAGO, IL
      • over 1 year ago

      Justice is needed for this young man.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Jeremy Crytzer INTERLAKEN, NY
      • over 1 year ago

      The poor boy should be protected and helped to heal, not punished.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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