Terebea Williams was 22 when she shot her boyfriend, drove 750 miles with him bleeding in the trunk of his own car and then dragged him into a Northern California motel, tied him to a chair and left him to die.
Convicted of murder, carjacking and kidnapping, Williams went on to earn a college degree during her 19 years in prison, where she also mentored younger inmates and was lauded by administrators for her “exceptional conduct” while incarcerated.
The contrasting portraits of Williams as stone-cold killer and rehabilitated model prisoner highlight the difficulties in a plan to release thousands of California inmates to curb the spread of COVID-19, which has killed at least 52 of those incarcerated and sickened more than 8,700 others.
This spring, the state expedited the release of 3,500 inmates because of the coronavirus, and in July it freed 2,345 others early. Thousands more are eligible for release, including at least 6,500 deemed to be at high risk because of medical conditions that make them especially vulnerable to COVID-19.
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