Terrance Williams, 46, was granted a stay of execution and a new sentencing hearing by a Pennsylvania judge on Friday, reports the New York Times. He was scheduled to die by lethal injection on Wednesday for killing the man who allegedly molested him as a minor.
Judge M. Teresa Sarmina of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas granted Williams the new hearing and stay because of new evidence stemming from his 1986 conviction for beating Amos Norwood to death in 1984. Williams was 18-year-old at the time he killed Norwood, then aged 56.
However, when the jury voted to sentence Williams to death, prosecutors withheld evidence that claims Norwood molested Williams since he was 13-years-old, the judge ruled. They also withheld evidence revealing that Norwood had homosexual relations with boys, including Williams. The judge ruled that, had the jury known of that evidence, they could have possibly voted for a penalty other than death.
The Times has more:
Defense lawyers contended that newly discovered evidence of Mr. Norwood’s sexual orientation supported their claim that Mr. Williams, who was 18 at the time, killed him because Mr. Norwood, who was 56, had abused him from the age of 13, and not because of a robbery, as prosecutors argued at the trial.
The new evidence — which was given to defense lawyers for the first time last weekend after 28 years in police files — was sufficient to demand a stay and a new sentencing but not a new trial, the judge said.