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PA Coalition Against Rape Joins Calls to Stop Execution of Terrence Williams

Today the PA Coalition Against Rape joined numerous groups against sexual violence, hundreds of child advocates, faith leaders, and former jurors in calling on Pennsylvania's governor to stop the execution of Terrance “Terry” Williams.

Pennsylvania is scheduled to execute Williams on October 3rd for killing two men, Amos Norwood and Herbert Hamilton.

What the jury who sentenced him to death did not know was that Williams was physically and sexually abused throughout his childhood and adolescence, including rapes that began when he was just six years old. The two men Williams killed had been his abusers.

“With our years of experience in reviewing claims of rape and other sexual violence, we speak out clearly that a crime was committed against Terry, nothing less,” wrote the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape. “Under no construction of American law or societal norms, is the sexual exploitation of a 13 year old boy by a 50 year old man a relationship, homosexual or otherwise. It is rape and any suggestion to the contrary is offensive.”

Five jurors have submitted sworn affidavits saying they are opposed to Williams' execution. They had previously voted for the death sentence because they did not know all the facts. The widow of one of the victims has also asked that Terry’s life be spared, along with hundreds of prominent supporters and 16,000 individual citizens.

Also today, members of the bipartisan Pennsylvania Senate Task Force and Advisory Committee on Capital Punishment called on Governor Tom Corbett to postpone all upcoming executions until it completes its study of the death penalty and issues its findings in December 2013. Two of the four task force members, Senators Stewart Greenleaf (R) and Daylin Leach (D), and a dozen members of the advisory committee signed the letter to the Governor

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