Williams v. Beard, No. 07–9002.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore: SMITH, CHAGARES, and ALDISERT, Circuit Judges.
Citation637 F.3d 195
PartiesTerrance WILLIAMS, Appellantv.Jeffrey BEARD, Commissioner, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections; Louis B. Folino, Superintendent of the State Correctional Institution at Greene; Frank Tennis, Acting Superintendent of the State Correctional Institution at Rockview; The District Attorney of the County of Philadelphia; The Attorney General of the State of Pennsylvania.
Docket NumberNo. 07–9002.
Decision Date09 March 2011

637 F.3d 195

Terrance WILLIAMS, Appellant
v.
Jeffrey BEARD, Commissioner, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections; Louis B. Folino, Superintendent of the State Correctional Institution at Greene; Frank Tennis, Acting Superintendent of the State Correctional Institution at Rockview; The District Attorney of the County of Philadelphia; The Attorney General of the State of Pennsylvania.

No. 07–9002.

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit.

Argued Dec. 7, 2010.Filed: March 9, 2011.


[637 F.3d 198]

Helen Marino, Michael Wiseman (argued), Defender Association of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, for Appellant.John W. Goldsborough (argued), Office of the District Attorney, Philadelphia, PA, for Appellees.Before: SMITH, CHAGARES, and ALDISERT, Circuit Judges.

OPINION
SMITH, Circuit Judge.

Twenty-five years ago, petitioner Terrance Williams was tried and convicted of first degree murder for the killing of Amos Norwood. A jury then returned a sentence of death. After two decades of appeals in the Pennsylvania state courts, Williams filed a petition for federal habeas review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The District Court denied the petition but certified two questions for our review, to wit: (1) whether trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective during the penalty phase of trial, and (2) whether the Commonwealth exercised its peremptory strikes in a racially discriminatory manner in violation of Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79, 106 S.Ct. 1712, 90 L.Ed.2d 69 (1986). We permitted Williams to expand the certificate of appealability to include a question regarding the constitutional propriety of the trial court's accomplice liability instructions. We conclude that each issue is without merit and will affirm.

I

The story of Terrance Williams is reminiscent of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. As Dr. Jekyll, Williams was a local football star, the quarterback of the Germantown High School team that won the Philadelphia Public League championship in 1982. He was presented with the sportsman of the year award by the Philadelphia Board of Sports Officials, and he was recruited by at least eight different collegiate institutions. Nearly all of Williams' coaches and teachers described him as mild-mannered,

[637 F.3d 199]

law-abiding, and honest. In 1983, Williams graduated from Germantown High and matriculated to Cheney State College in Philadelphia. In the estimation of one of his instructors, Williams was “highly respected and admired by his teacher[s] and all of his classmates.” He was “[n]ot only ... the star of the school's football team, but [was] also ... a classmate and student who showed respect for others and accepted his popularity with modesty.”

But apparently Terrance Williams had a sinister side. In the dead of night on Christmas Eve in 1982, a sixteen-year-old Williams broke into the Philadelphia residence of Don and Hilda Dorfman, aged sixty-nine and sixty-four, respectively. He entered Mrs. Dorfman's bedroom, wakened her by pressing a .22 caliber Winchester rifle to her neck, and then pulled a bedsheet over her face. When Mrs. Dorfman attempted to remove the sheet, Williams ordered her to stop “or her fucking head would be blown off.” Williams then fired the rifle three times into the wall to show the victims he was serious. Williams and an accomplice ransacked the home before making off with cash, jewelry, and the Dorfmans' automobile.

It was not long before Williams was apprehended and criminally charged for robbing and terrorizing the Dorfmans. Although his age placed him under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court, the Commonwealth moved to certify Williams as an adult. In an attempt to avoid certification, Williams produced no fewer than eight witnesses who attested to his stable home life, loving parents, and supportive extended family. Every character witness interviewed by the Commonwealth believed Williams to be innocent. Even his own attorney would testify years later, “I didn't feel in my own mind of mind[s] and heart of hearts that [Williams] was involved in the matter.” Such was the nature of Williams' dual existence.

In spite of the efforts to avoid it, Williams was certified to stand trial as an adult. He was released pending trial, however, and in January of 1984, he embarked in earnest on a crime spree that would continue for the better part of six months. Williams' next victim was a fifty-one-year-old man named Herbert Hamilton, an individual from whom Williams had been receiving money in exchange for sex. This relationship, like much else in Williams' life, was kept hidden from most who knew him. Hamilton apparently threatened to publicize the secret, so Williams took action.

On January 26, 1984, Williams called on Hamilton at his home. The two eventually retired to the bedroom and, as they proceeded toward the bed, Williams withdrew a concealed ten-inch butcher knife and attempted to stab Hamilton. Hamilton fought back, wrestled the knife from Williams, and stabbed Williams in the chest. Hamilton then dropped the knife and ran into the kitchen to telephone for assistance. Meanwhile, Williams retrieved a nearby baseball bat, chased after Hamilton, and beat him with the bat until Hamilton was bloody and severely wounded. Williams then recovered the butcher knife and stabbed Hamilton approximately twenty times—twice in the head, ten times in the back, once in the neck, four times in the chest, and once each in the abdomen, arm, and thumb. Finally, Williams drove the butcher knife through the back of Hamilton's neck until it protruded through the other side. He then doused Hamilton's body with kerosene and unsuccessfully attempted to set fire to it. When police officers later entered the apartment, they found Hamilton's kerosene-soaked body with the knife jammed through his neck; on the bathroom mirror, the phrase “I

[637 F.3d 200]

loved you” was scrawled in toothpaste. Williams was then seventeen.

The Hamilton murder remained unsolved at the time that Williams went to trial for the Dorfman robbery in February of 1984. Williams maintained his innocence of the robbery throughout trial. He and his counsel mustered at least nine character witnesses who testified that Williams was a peaceful, law-abiding, and honest young man. The jury was not persuaded. They returned a conviction for two counts of robbery as felonies of the first degree, one count of burglary, one count of simple assault, one count of unauthorized use of an automobile, and one count of conspiracy. Williams was nevertheless released pending sentencing. Tragically, his crime spree continued.

On June 11, 1984, Williams and a friend, Marc Draper, were gambling with several others on a street corner in the West Mount Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia. It was not long before both young men lost all of their money. While brainstorming potential means by which to recoup their losses, Williams said that he knew a man who lived nearby from whom they could extort cash. 1 According to Williams, this individual—fifty-six-year-old Amos Norwood—was a closeted homosexual. With a plan that they would threaten to reveal Norwood's secret to his wife, Draper and Williams set off for Norwood's apartment.

When they arrived at Norwood's residence, Williams told Draper to wait outside. Williams emerged with $10 in cash approximately twenty minutes later. Williams and Draper were apparently satisfied with this amount because they returned to the street corner to resume gambling. A short time later, Norwood drove by the corner in his blue Chrysler LeBaron. When he spotted the vehicle, Williams said, “There goes my uncle,” flagged down the car, and entered via the passenger side door. Norwood then drove away.

The blue LeBaron returned to the intersection several minutes later, whereupon Williams exited the vehicle, approached Draper, and said quietly, “Play it off like you going home, like you want a ride home, and we gonna take some money.” Draper understood Williams to be proposing a robbery. The two then got inside Norwood's automobile and Draper began to provide false directions to his “home.” In reality, Draper's directions led Norwood to a secluded area adjacent to the Ivy Hill Cemetery. Once there, Draper reached over the backseat, grabbed Norwood from behind and ordered him “to be quiet and get out of the car.” Norwood stopped the vehicle and complied.

Williams and Draper then led Norwood into the cemetery and ordered him to lie facedown near a tombstone. A quick search of Norwood's person revealed $20 hidden in his sock. At this point, Norwood began to plead for his life. The two assailants responded by removing Norwood's clothing and tying him up; Norwood's hands were bound behind his back with his shirt, his legs were bound together with his pants, and his socks were forcefully jammed into his mouth. Once Norwood was bound, Williams said to Draper, “Wait, I'm going to the car. We're getting ready to do something.” And he walked off.

[637 F.3d 201]

Williams returned with a tire iron and a socket wrench, the latter of which he gave to Draper. Draper, seemingly having second thoughts, urged Williams to leave. Williams replied, “I know what I'm doin, I know what I'm doin. Don't worry about it, I know what I'm doin.” He then began battering Norwood's head with the tire iron. When he noticed that Draper was frozen in place, Williams said, “Man, you with me[?] We got to do this together.” Draper then sprung into action himself, striking Norwood repeatedly with the socket wrench. This violent scene continued until Norwood lay motionless and dead. Draper later recalled that there was blood everywhere. On the day of his second murder, Williams was four months past his eighteenth birthday.

Williams and Draper soon parted ways. Draper reported to work, while Williams took Norwood's automobile downtown to meet a friend, Ronald Rucker. Rucker noticed that Williams was “hyper” and asked him if everything was okay. Williams then disclosed that he had just...

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199 practice notes
  • Williams v. Pennsylvania, No. 15–5040.
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 9 Junio 2016
    ...habeas petitions, which were both dismissed as untimely, and a federal habeas petition, which was also denied. See Williams v. Beard, 637 F.3d 195, 238 (C.A.3 2011).This case arises out of Williams's fifth habeas petition, which he filed in state court in 2012. In that petition, Williams ar......
  • United States v. Thompson, No. 12–31203.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • 18 Noviembre 2013
    ...284, 287 (5th Cir.2009). It “is not meant to be onerous.” Sorto v. Herbert, 497 F.3d 163, 170 (2d Cir.2007); accord Williams v. Beard, 637 F.3d 195, 214 (3d Cir.2011); see also United States v. McMath, 559 F.3d 657, 664 (7th Cir.2009) (“The test is not rigorous: suspicion even less than ‘mo......
  • Howard v. Horn, Civil Action No. 99–4880.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • 4 Noviembre 2014
    ...he did not properly object when they were stricken. Id. Petitioner objects, and cites the recent Third Circuit case of Williams v. Beard, 637 F.3d 195, 208 n. 12 (3d Cir.2011), which held that “all that Abu–Jamal requires” is that a petitioner have “unequivocally put the trial court on noti......
  • McCarty v. State, No. 58101.
    • United States
    • Nevada Supreme Court of Nevada
    • 31 Marzo 2016
    ...was improperly motivated.” Johnson v. California, 545 U.S. 162, 170, 125 S.Ct. 2410, 162 L.Ed.2d 129 (2005) ; see also Williams v. Beard, 637 F.3d 195, 215 (3d Cir.2011).C. We turn then to the inquiry that was conducted at step three in this case. Although McCarty challenges the district co......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
199 cases
  • Williams v. Pennsylvania, No. 15–5040.
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 9 Junio 2016
    ...habeas petitions, which were both dismissed as untimely, and a federal habeas petition, which was also denied. See Williams v. Beard, 637 F.3d 195, 238 (C.A.3 2011).This case arises out of Williams's fifth habeas petition, which he filed in state court in 2012. In that petition, Williams ar......
  • United States v. Thompson, No. 12–31203.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • 18 Noviembre 2013
    ...284, 287 (5th Cir.2009). It “is not meant to be onerous.” Sorto v. Herbert, 497 F.3d 163, 170 (2d Cir.2007); accord Williams v. Beard, 637 F.3d 195, 214 (3d Cir.2011); see also United States v. McMath, 559 F.3d 657, 664 (7th Cir.2009) (“The test is not rigorous: suspicion even less than ‘mo......
  • Howard v. Horn, Civil Action No. 99–4880.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • 4 Noviembre 2014
    ...he did not properly object when they were stricken. Id. Petitioner objects, and cites the recent Third Circuit case of Williams v. Beard, 637 F.3d 195, 208 n. 12 (3d Cir.2011), which held that “all that Abu–Jamal requires” is that a petitioner have “unequivocally put the trial court on noti......
  • McCarty v. State, No. 58101.
    • United States
    • Nevada Supreme Court of Nevada
    • 31 Marzo 2016
    ...was improperly motivated.” Johnson v. California, 545 U.S. 162, 170, 125 S.Ct. 2410, 162 L.Ed.2d 129 (2005) ; see also Williams v. Beard, 637 F.3d 195, 215 (3d Cir.2011).C. We turn then to the inquiry that was conducted at step three in this case. Although McCarty challenges the district co......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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