Missouri governor halts Tuesday execution

Saul Bowman
August 23, 2017

More than 200,000 people had signed an online petition asking Greitens to intervene, and a rally protesting the execution was planned in St. Louis later on Tuesday, featuring speakers such as the head of the Missouri NAACP. Williams was convicted of stabbing Gayle 43 times, then stealing a number of her personal items, including a laptop that he subsequently sold. Williams was convicted in 2001 and sentenced to death.

"Based on the other, non-DNA, evidence in this case, our office is confident in Marcellus Williams' guilt and plans to move forward", Loree Anne Paradise of the Missouri Attorney General's office said in a statement.

Greitens spokesman Parker Briden declined to comment on the request for a board of inquiry on Monday, adding there would be a statement Tuesday.

The five members of the Board of Inquiry to be appointed by Governor Greitens will include retired Missouri judges.

The Missouri Supreme Court postponed Williams' execution in 2015 so further DNA testing could be arranged. Williams has always said he was innocent. His attorneys asked Greitens for clemency.

"There is evidence that has not been considered by a court", Chapel said, according to Missourinet.

Using technology that was not available at the time of the killing, recent testing shows that DNA found on the knife didn't belong to Williams, but to a third, unidentified person, according to analysis by three different labs. However, Williams' lawyers argue that the witnesses were actually angling for the $10,000 reward offered by Gayle's family in return for information leading to the murderer.

"It's just remarkable to me that the attorney general and the other people defending this conviction can say with a straight face that DNA does not trump the evidence that they've submitted", Williams' lawyer told Missouri's KMOV on Tuesday.

In addition to the murder conviction, Williams is also serving consecutive life terms for robbery, and 30 years each for burglary and weapons crimes.

"They're never going to ever confront an actual innocence cause more persuading than this involving exonerating DNA evidence", Kent Gipson, one of Williams's attorneys, told CNN hours before the stay. Gipson told CBS affiliate KMOV the evidence was dismissed by Missouri's Supreme Court last week.

Gayle had been a St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter from 1981 to 1992, before she eventually turned to doing social work, the Post reported.

Hair samples and fingernails found at the crime scene don't match Williams' DNA either, said Greg Hampikian, a forensic DNA expert hired by defense lawyers, and footprints at the scene didn't match his shoes, defense attorney Larry Komp said.

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