Attorneys Fight To Stop Missouri Execution

Marcellus Williams is due to be executed despite new DNA evidence supporting his claim to innocence
Marcellus Williams is due to be executed despite new DNA evidence supporting his claim to innocence
Author

22 August, 2017

Lawyers for a Missouri death row inmate claim the state will willingly execute an innocent man despite new evidence proving their initial findings wrong.

Marcellus Williams was convicted of brutally stabbing and murdering Lisha Gayle, a St. Louis newspaper reporter, during a 1998 robbery inside her home in the suburb of University City.

Attorneys for Williams have also asked Republican Gov. Eric Greitens for clemency.

That evidence was not available when Williams went to trial in 2001, court documents say.

If Williams' death sentence is carried out, it would be Missouri's second execution this year. It was rubbed and friction is what transfers DNA. Gipson also cited previous DNA evidence showing that hairs found on Gayle's shirt, fingernails, and footprints at the scene, did not belong to Williams either.

Williams was also tied to stolen items from Gayle's home.

His lawyers say the two witnesses - a former cell mate and prostitute - were motivated by a financial reward to testify against him.

Hampikian said the new evidence isn't enough to "incriminate someone" but could be used to exclude someone from having committed the grisly murder.

But the Missouri State Supreme Court has denied a request put forth by Williams' lawyer, Kent Gipson, to review the new evidence.

But the Missouri Attorney General's Office, in addressing the new DNA evidence in court documents filed in federal court last week in opposition to a stay of execution, offered a possible explanation of why none of Williams' DNA was found on the knife.

Officials at Amnesty International note that Williams, who is black, was convicted of killing Gayle, who was white, by a jury consisting of 11 white jurors and one black juror. "Evidence that could prove that he had nothing to do with the murder itself".

"Our office is confident in Marcellus Williams' guilt and plans to move forward", Paradise said. Defense lawyer Komp told CNN his client is taking events calmly in advance of the planned legal injection.

"It's an innocent man getting murdered, and it's not right", his son, Marcellus Williams Jr., said.

He was only 8 when his father was arrested for murder.

Gayle, 42, was stabbed repeatedly on August 11, 1998, after surprising the burglar in her home.


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