WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — Supporters of an inmate serving life in prison for a 1974 murder are urging Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad to commute his sentence so he can be released, and even the victim's family members say they've forgiven him.
The statements came Wednesday during a public hearing called by Branstad to gather input on whether he should commute the sentence of 66-year-old Rasberry Williams, which the Iowa Board of Parole has recommended.
Branstad has until early May to decide. Commuting the sentence would allow Williams to become eligible for parole after 38 years in prison for the murder of 40-year-old Lester Givhan outside a pool hall.
Three former inmates who served with Williams credited him with helping them turn their lives around. Two of Givhan's cousins say the family has forgiven Williams.