Thursday, September 13, 2012

We stand in solidarity

MVFHR sent this letter to the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons in support of Terry Williams's clemency application

To the Honorable Governor Tom Corbett and Members of the Board of Pardons: 

We, the members of Murder Victims' Families for Human Rights, write to support the petition of clemency for Terry Williams.  

Murder Victims' Families for Human Rights (MVFHR) is a victim-founded, victim-led national organization of people who have lost family members to murder or execution and oppose the death penalty.  We have members in Pennsylvania and throughout the United States. 

As murder victims' family members, we stand in solidarity with Mamie Norwood, whose husband Amos Norwood was murdered by Terry Williams in 1984.  Ms. Norwood has stated unequivocally that she does not want Mr. Williams to be executed and that she supports his petition for clemency.  We know from our own experiences, and from her statement, that Ms. Norwood's position comes despite her tremendous pain, and is part of a journey that only other murder victims' family members can understand.  We support her in her courageous stand against the execution of Terry Williams, and ask that you honor her request that his sentence be commuted to life in prison.

The members of our organization know the pain of losing a beloved family member to murder.  Having all suffered a tragic loss, we have come in different ways and times to the understanding that the death penalty does not help us heal, and is not what we need to feel that justice has been served.  A sentence of life in prison fulfills the purpose of holding murderers accountable for their terrible crimes, and keeps society safe.  We have come to understand that an execution does not bring our family member back, but does create another grieving family.  We stand as well with the family of Terry Williams who will suffer tremendously if he is put to death.  

We ask that you hear the request for mercy from Ms. Mamie Norwood in her opposition to the execution of Terry Williams, and we ask that you recognize that, in the face of her stand against it, to continue with his execution has the potential to cause Ms. Norwood additional pain.  

As victims, and in support of the victim in this case, we support clemency for Terry Williams.

Thank you.

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