Will Pennsylvania Execute A Victim Of Child Sexual Abuse?

Terrance Williams is facing execution in Pennsylvania on October 3.  Repeatedly sexually abused by older boys and men as a youth (starting when he was six years old), he was sent to death row for killing Amos Norwood – one of his abusers, according to the clemency petition – three months after his 18th birthday.

What Terrance Williams did was, indeed, criminal.  Killing is never an appropriate response, even to the most heinous of abuses.

But maybe that’s the point.

Wouldn’t killingTerrance Williams now, in retaliation for his crime, be just as wrong as the crime Williams committed in response to the abuse he suffered?  Lots of people think so.

Five of the trial jurors, the widow of the victim, and 30 child advocates and experts on child abuse have called on Pennsylvania to commute the death sentence in this case. So have 18 former prosecutors, 8 retired judges, and 47 mental health professionals.

The Penn State / Jerry Sandusky case has focused a lot of attention on sexual abuse of children in Pennsylvania, and rightly so. Terrance Williams’ case represents an extreme result of allowing such abuse to go unchecked.

It doesn’t excuse his crimes, but certainly it should factor into his sentence. Yet at trial, the jury did not hear about the abuse, and also did not hear that life in Pennsylvania means life without parole; they issued a death sentence that almost half of them now regret.

Given the extraordinary circumstances surrounding this case, it cannot possibly serve any purpose to execute Terrance Williams, and the state should not allow it to happen.

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4 thoughts on “Will Pennsylvania Execute A Victim Of Child Sexual Abuse?

  1. I am all for commuting in this case. I will say more, let's give him a reasonable out date as well.

  2. This is why we need to start educating children about sexual abuse at a very young age, otherwise this will happen. How twisted is this, can you blame him for killing the guy? I don't. And just imagine all the other hundreds and thousands of other innocent children that are abused everyday and how it will effect their future lives. Boy scout abuse and <a href="http://www.kosnoff.com/boyranches.php
    " title="foster care abuse">, these people are supposed to help these children not hurt them. what is this world coming too?

  3. If this isn't an example of our very very flawed judiciary system, then I don't know what is. I can't imagine a more absurd thing…and this is reality.

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