The Supreme Court of Philadelphia
The Supreme Court of Philadelphia.©Luigi Novi/CC-BY 3.0

Terry Williams was condemned to death penalty 33 years ago for the murder of Herbert Hamilton and Amos Norwood. In 2012, the judge Teresa Sarmina decided to modify his sentence and save him from death.The judge estimated that Williams had attenuating circonstances because Hamilton and Amos raped him.

Terry Williams escaped from death on September 28th, 2012. He had been condemned to death for the murder of Herbert Hamilton and Amos Norwood but the judge, Teresa Sarmina, resentenced Williams to life imprisonment without parole. Terry Williams was on death row for 24 years before Judge Sarmina’s decision. As a kid Terry Williams had been a victim of child abuse. His rapists were Herbert Hamilton and Amos Norwood. Terry William was 17 years old when he decided to take his revenge. In January, 1984, in West Philadelphia Terry Williams lured Hamilton to bed. The young man took a baseball bat and beat his rapist until he was severely wounded. Then he stabbed him 20 times with a butcher knife. Six month later, when Terry Williams turned 18, he chose to kill his second rapist: Amos Norwood. With his accomplice, Marc Draper, Williams convinced Norwood to go to a cemetery.Then they beat him to death with a tire iron.They hid the body behind some tombstones. Later, Terry Williams returned to the cemetery to set the corpses on fire.  

The decision of Judge Sarmina was based on the past sufferings of Terry Williams and his third-degree conviction was overturned to a first-degree murder on June 9, 2016.