Man who killed abusers to be executed

2012-09-18 13:00
Death chamber (AFP, File)

Death chamber (AFP, File)

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Washington - The board of pardons in the US state of Pennsylvania on Monday denied clemency for Terry Williams, who was convicted of killing two men who allegedly sexually abused him as a child.

The state board of pardons took the decision despite pleas from the European Union and dozens of former prosecutors, judges and law professors on behalf of the 46-year-old Williams, who is scheduled to be executed on 3 October.

Williams has spent 24 years on death row.

"On behalf of Terry Williams, we are deeply disappointed that the Board of Pardons has denied Terry's request for clemency," his defense attorney Shawn Nolan said in a statement.

"This is particularly disheartening after a majority of the Board, including the Attorney General of Pennsylvania, by a 3-2 vote, recommended to spare Terry's life."

Pennsylvania requires a unanimous recommendation in favor of clemency for it to be considered by the governor.

The EU, which is opposed to capital punishment and is seeking a global moratorium against the death penalty, said executing Williams would break a "de facto moratorium" in the northeastern state, which last executed a convict on 6 July 1999.

In 1986, Williams killed a man suspected of having brutally raped and otherwise physically abused him during his childhood. A year earlier, when Williams was just 17 years old and thus a minor, he killed another suspected abuser.

The case is "particularly distressing because he has been reported to have been sexually abused by the person who he murdered, a fact which appears not to have been taken into account during his trial", the Council of Europe said in a letter to the Board of Pardons.

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