Killer's attorneys want chief justice off death-row case

Posted: October 02, 2012

ATTORNEYS for double-murderer Terrance Williams have asked Pennsylvania Chief Justice Ronald Castille to recuse himself in the case because they believe he has a conflict of interest.

In a motion filed Monday with the state Supreme Court, Williams' attorneys stated that Castille should not take part in ruling on Williams' death sentence because he was Philadelphia's district attorney in 1986 when Williams was tried, convicted and sentenced to death for the 1984 murder of Amos Norwood.

The motion states that Castille authorized the death sentence and notes that his office opposed Williams' appeal of the sentence.

Art Heinz, spokesman for Castille, said that Castille would not comment.

Williams, 46, had been on death row for 26 years with an execution date scheduled for Wednesday, but Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina on Friday stayed the execution and vacated the death sentence.

She ruled that the trial prosecutor, Andrea Foulkes, had withheld evidence about Williams' having been sexually abused by Norwood, 56, a churchgoing married father living in Mount Airy.

District Attorney Seth Williams called Sarmina's ruling unjust and on Friday appealed to the high court to have the death sentence reinstated. Defense attorneys also on Monday filed a brief with the high court opposing the district attorney's appeal.


Contact Mensah M. Dean at deanm@phillynews.com or 215-568-8278. Follow him on Twitter @MensahDean.

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