In August 1996, 13-year-old Richezza Williams was found dead in a Pennsylvania cemetery, her burned and beaten body dumped in a cardboard box after she was tortured with household items, including a heated clothes hanger, cleaning chemicals, and a turkey baster.
Corey Maeweather admitted to authorities that he participated in the brutal crime, appearing “void of emotion” in a video as he described the victim’s screams and cries for help. Maeweather said he was not directly involved in the young girl’s death, instead confessing to retrieving the torture devices for two co-conspirators. He pleaded guilty to criminal homicide and kidnapping and was sentenced to life without parole.
More than two decades later, top Democrats are seeking to ease the process for criminals like Maeweather to walk free. Lt. Gov. John Fetterman has called to end life sentences for anyone who did not directly take another’s life, which could commute the sentences of more than 1,500 inmates convicted of serious crimes, according to records obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
“If you didn’t take a life, the state shouldn’t take your life through unending incarceration,” Fetterman said in November. The lieutenant governor’s office has encouraged criminals sentenced to life in prison to apply for commutation. He is “particularly interested” in “cases in which a person participated in a crime resulting in a homicide but didn’t ‘pull the trigger,'” according to a December press release. Fetterman also supports reforming the state’s Board of Pardons, which he chairs, to reduce the unanimous vote required to recommend sentence commutations to a 4-1 vote. – READ MORE