Since Gov. Wolf declared his moratorium on the death penalty last month, proponents of capital punishment have rallied around one case to push their cause - the scuttled execution of Terrance Williams, a Philadelphia man sentenced to die in 1986 for the beating death of a Germantown church volunteer.
But on Thursday, the widow of Williams' victim had a message for critics of the governor's action: Leave me out of it.
In a publicly circulated letter, Mamie Norwood, whose husband, Amos, was killed by Williams in 1984, accused State Rep. Mike Vereb (R., Montgomery) and Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams of using her husband's slaying for political gain.
"You have never spoken to me and do not speak for me," Norwood wrote, adding that she had forgiven Terrance Williams long ago and did not want to see him put to death.
She added: "Please don't use me . . . to get your name in the news. You should be truly ashamed of yourselves."
Norwood's letter was distributed by a group of Terrance Williams' supporters who run the website www.terrywilliamsclemency.com.
Vereb and Seth Williams, who is not related to the convicted killer, have vowed to fight the death penalty suspension in the legislature and courts.
Vereb said Thursday he had not received a letter personally from Norwood, only a copy sent to him by The Inquirer, and that he would be happy to meet with Norwood "to clear up any possible misunderstandings."
He said he respected her position but added that his mention of her husband's slaying in a recently filed state House resolution was aimed at Wolf's moratorium.
"The governor's unilateral suspension of the death penalty is contrary to the rule of law in our commonwealth," he said in a statement, adding that he never claimed to speak for any particular victim in challenging Wolf's action.
In the letter, the legislator condemned the governor's "astounding disregard for the additional and unnecessary heartache he has now caused to the family and loved ones of Terrance Williams' victims."
A spokesman for Seth Williams declined to comment on the letter but said the district attorney stood by his opposition to the governor's moratorium.
In court filings last month, Seth Williams, a Democrat, likened Wolf's action to that of a despot and sought to have it overturned at the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
"Our constitution does not allow the governor to satisfy his own personal opinions by halting a capital murderer's sentence that was authorized by state statute, imposed by a unanimous Philadelphia jury, and upheld by state and federal courts," Williams said at the time.
None of the 186 inmates currently on death row in Pennsylvania benefitted more from the timing of Wolf's February reprieve than Terrance Williams, 48, who had been scheduled for execution March 4. Wolf's predecessor, Gov. Tom Corbett, signed the man's death warrant in January.
Terrance Williams' lawyers had been fighting for years to stop his execution, contending, among other reasons, that prosecutors withheld evidence that Amos Norwood - a 56-year-old Germantown church volunteer - had sexually abused Williams as a teen.
At a 2012 clemency hearing, Amos Norwood's daughter, Barbara Harris, testified that she still supported Terrance Williams' execution despite her mother's opposition.
Still, the governor cited the case in a memo last month explaining the reasoning behind his moratorium.
"There is no question that Terrance Williams committed a grievous act of violence," he wrote. "The reprieve announced today does not question Williams' guilt. Rather, I take this action because the capital punishment system has significant and widely recognized defects."