A bipartisan legislative task force studying the death penalty in Pennsylvania has asked Republican Gov. Tom Corbett to impose a moratorium on executions until the panel can deliver its report in December.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer
, the request in a letter from Democratic state Sen. Daylin Leach and Republican state Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, who head the 12-member task force, would halt the scheduled execution Oct. 5 of Terrance Williams, who was convicted of murder in 1984.
If Corbett declines, Williams could become the first death row inmate to be put to death in Pennsylvania in 13 years.
In their letter, Leach and Greenleaf called the moratorium proposal "particularly prudent," although they denied the request was related to the Williams case. But they said carrying out his execution would undermine the task force's "comprehensive study of the effectiveness of capital punishment in Pennsylvania as it pertains to cost, fairness, proportionality, impact, and many other factors."
Pennsylvania has 200 inmates on death row, three of them women.
A spokeswoman for the governor said he had not yet seen the letter. But while the task force is awaiting a response, Williams has petitioned the state Pardons Board for a recommendation of clemency.
The 5-member board is scheduled to hold a public hearing Monday on the request and must vote unanimously to pass the recommendation along to Corbett.
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