Branstad Commutes Sentence Of Convicted Murderer

By: The Associated Press Email
By: The Associated Press Email

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad on Friday granted a commutation request for Rasberry Williams, offering a chance of parole for a man convicted of a killing nearly 39 years ago.

Branstad commuted his sentence to life with the possibility of parole.

The 67-year-old Williams was convicted of first-degree murder on July 20, 1974 in Black Hawk County for shooting a neighbor, 40-year-old Lester Givhan, over a $30 gambling debt outside of a Waterloo pool hall.

The governor held a public hearing on the case last month to gather input from the community where Williams killed Givhan. He'd already won backing from the parole board, prison wardens, the prosecutor who convicted him and the judge who oversaw his trial. The victim's family also told Branstad they've forgiven Williams.

The commutation lets the Board of Parole consider Williams for work-release or parole.

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