Death Penalty

Man Facing Execution Next Week Says Prosecutors Hid Mitigating Evidence at Sentencing

A Philadelphia man facing execution next week for a 1984 murder claims prosecutors hid evidence at his sentencing that he had been sexually abused by the man he was convicted of killing.

Terrance Williams, 46, says the evidence, which was only turned over to the defense on Monday, corroborates his contention that the defendant, then 18, had been in a sexually abusive relationship with the victim, Amos Norwood, a 56-year-old married man, at the time, the Philadelphia Daily News reports.

Williams, who is scheduled to be executed next week, is asking a judge to vacate his 1986 death sentence and grant him a new sentencing hearing. A ruling in the case is expected Friday.

Williams and another 18-year-old man, Marc Draper, were convicted of luring Norwood into a darkened cemetery and beating him to death with a tire iron and a wrench.

Draper, who is serving a life sentence for the murder, testified at Williams’ trial that he and Williams killed Norwood during a robbery. Williams testified that Norwood was killed by Draper and another man.

But Draper now says he lied at Williams trial after being threatened by homicide detectives and coached by prosecutors. He now says Williams orchestrated the killing out of rage at being in an abusive sexual relationship with Norwood.

Williams’ lawyer, federal public defender Shawn Nolan, said he thought the defense had made an “extremely strong case” for a new sentencing hearing, particularly in light of the fact that they did not receive this evidence from prosecutors until Monday.

But Assistant District Attorney Robin Godfrey said the evidence was the property of the police department, not the district attorney’s office, and it wouldn’t ordinarily be turned over to the defense.

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