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Attorney seeks to overturn death sentence

Sept. 11, 2012 at 2:23 PM

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 11 (UPI) -- A Philadelphia judge said she will hear out a defense lawyer's argument to stay his client's pending execution for a 1984 murder.

Terrence Williams, now 46, stands to become the first inmate put to death in the Keystone State since 1999 after the grisly slaying of Amos Norwood, 56. Williams was convicted of luring Norwood to a cemetery, beating him to death with a tire iron and lighting his body on fire.

Prosecutors say Williams's motive was robbery -- he and an accomplice took Norwood's wallet and car, then drove to Atlantic City to gamble. Williams's attorney, however, said jurors were not given the full picture at trial. Attorney Billy Nolas told Pennsylvania Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina his client had suffered years of sexual abuse, some at Norwood's hands -- a fact that prosecutors instructed Williams's accomplice not to mention during trial testimony.

Sarmina gave Nolas until Thursday to produce evidence for her to review supporting his claim, the Philadelphia Daily News reported. Nolas is seeking to have his client's death sentence commuted and instead serve life in prison without parole.

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