The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

September 26, 2012

Executions rarely reason for leaving state's death row

NEW BERLIN —

HARRISBURG — Two-hundred Pennsylvania convicts are sentenced to die, but they're less likely to be executed than to be removed from death row for other reasons.

State Corrections Department spokeswoman Sue McNaughton, who has kept records on death-row prisoners since 1985, said Wednesday 184 inmates have left death row in that time. That's an average of about seven per year.

The largest proportion — 133 inmates — were resentenced to life imprisonment. That's what condemned killer Terrance Williams is seeking in court and from the governor as Williams' Oct. 3 execution date draws near.

McNaughton says 12 other former death-row inmates were resentenced to other penalties and nine death sentences were vacated.

Twenty-four death-row inmates died of natural causes, three committed suicide and three were executed.

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