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Terry Williams: A Life in the Balance

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"The defense also contends the prosecutor withheld from the jury that she had promised Marc Draper, Williams' admitted accomplice, a recommendation to state parole officials if he pleaded guilty and testified that the Norwood killing occurred during a robbery."

Draper testified that "he felt duped when he learned his guilty plea resulted in a life prison term without parole."

Prosecuter Andrea Foulkes denounced his recantation. Last week, she called it a lie. City prosecutors said Williams' claims of sexual abuse were raised in 1998. 

A federal appeals court spurned him. What did they care if another Black man lived or died. State and local prosecutors feel the same.

On September 17, Williams' attorneys petitioned the state pardons board for clemency. They collected over 300,000 supportive signatures. 

They included over two dozen child advocates, five former jurors, 22 former prosecutors and judges, 34 law professors, 40 mental health professionals, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, and concerned individuals and organizations.

In a letter child advocates sent Governor Corbett, they said:

"The evidence in this case is clear. There can be no doubt that Terry was repeatedly and violently abused and exploited as a child and teenager by manipulative older men."

"Terry's acts of violence have, alas, an explanation of the worst sort: enveloped by anger and self-hatred, (he) lashed out and killed two of the men who sexually abused him and caused him so much pain."

Mamie Norwood also provided an affidavit. She's the victim's 75-year old widow. She wants justice, not vengeance, saying:

"I have come to forgive Mr. Williams. It has taken me many years. I want his life spared, and I do not want him executed. I am at peace with my decision, and I hope and pray that my wishes will be respected."

The clemency petition provided graphic details of childhood rape and abuse. Raised in poverty and chaos, Williams had a physically abusive mother. 

At age six, he was raped by an older boy. One of his teachers wooed him with food, clothes, a bicycle, and rides to schools. He later began raping him.

As a teenager, so did two older men. They used their influence as a church leader and sports booster for easy access to young boys.

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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