By RYAN J. FOLEY
This Nov. 1, 2012 photo provided by the Iowa Department of Corrections shows Rasberry Williams who is serving a life sentence for fatally shooting an acquaintance over a $30 debt outside a Waterloo, Iowa, pool hall in 1974. After two governors have declined to grant Williams’ commutation despite broad support since 2005, Gov. Terry Branstad is again considering the Iowa Board of Parole’s recommendation that Williams’ sentence be commuted. (AP Photo/Iowa Department of Corrections)
WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — Dozens of residents have packed a conference room in Waterloo, Iowa, to weigh in on whether the governor should free an inmate widely credited with turning his life around after committing a 1974 murder.
The room at the Black Hawk County Courthouse is overflowing as the Iowa Board of Parole begins to gather input on whether Gov. Terry Branstad should commute the life sentence of 66-year-old Rasberry Williams so he can be released on parole.
The parole board has already recommended that Branstad approve Williams’ application for commutation. But Branstad says he wants to hear from the public in the community where Williams’ crime happened.
Williams shot a neighbor outside a Waterloo pool hall after an argument over a gambling debt.
Branstad has until May to make a decision.