City prosecutors drop murder charges against man who previously won landmark Supreme Court appeal

Kristen Johanson
January 29, 2020 - 1:43 pm

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia prosecutors dropped murder charges Wednesday morning against a man whose 2016 U.S. Supreme Court case opened the door to thousands of appeals. 

Terrance Williams was convicted of third-degree murder in a domestic dispute killing. He tried to claim self-defense.

However, the judge never allowed the jury to see a medical report of his injuries in the fight, which, his attorney argued, proved Williams was trying to defend himself.

Williams has been in prison for 35 years, and after several appeals, he won a new trial.

But the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office said it will not retry the case, and they’re dropping charges.

Williams, however, will remain in prison, where he’s serving a life sentence for another murder.

He's well-known for a murder conviction that he appealed all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court — and won. The high court ruled that the state Supreme Court justice at the time, Ron Castille, should have recused himself from a state appeal decision in that murder, because he was the district attorney at the time of the killing — but Castille didn’t.

That landmark ruling gave way to thousands of other cases, including Mumia Abu-Jamal, the man convicted of killing Philadelphia Police Officer Danny Faulkner.