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With Death Penalty Still in Play, Execution of Terrance Williams No Longer Imminent

(Capitol dome, Harrisburg, Pa.   File photo) Tony Romeo
  Tony Romeo is Harrisburg bureau chief for KYW Newsradio...
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By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — Pennsylvania’s first contested execution in 50 years, previously scheduled for this evening, has been officially called off.

A Philadelphia judge last Friday stayed the execution of Terrance Williams and vacated his death sentence for the murder of a man he now claims sexually abused him (see related story).  The judge determined that evidence of the abuse had been withheld at the trial.

But immediately after that ruling, Philadelphia DA Seth Williams made an emergency appeal of the judge’s decision (see realted story), and late this afternoon the Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied that appeal.

Only then was the execution that had been scheduled for 7pm tonight officially scuttled.

A spokesman for the Pennsylvania courts says that while the emergency part of the appeal has been denied, the merits of the appeal of the judge’s decision will move forward and a schedule for attorneys to file briefs is being established.

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