48-year-old Marcellus Williams from Missouri is about to be executed for the 1998 murder of Lisha Gayle, despite DNA evidence suggesting he is innocent.
Prosecutors say Marcellus stabbed former journalist Lisha to death after she caught him burgling her St Louis home.
They claim he sold her stolen laptop and made a confession to two people. However, Marcellus’s legal team claim these two witnesses were unreliable and motivated by financial gain.
DNA on the knife used to stab 42-year-old Lisha reportedly does not match his DNA, belonging to a third, unidentified individual. His defenders have stressed how the technology needed to prove his innocence hadn’t been available at the time of the crime.
— Nicole TinsonJohnson (@Nikki_T) August 22, 2017
The Missouri Supreme Court has decided against reviewing this new evidence.
Marcellus’s lawyer has made the following statement to Al Jazeera:
We petitioned the court to look at the new evidence on August 14th, and less than 24 hours later they decided based on the court files that the execution should go ahead anyway. This is unprecedented.
There is no physical evidence, no eyewitnesses that directly connect Williams to the murder, the DNA on the weapon wasn’t his, the bloody footprint at the murder scene wasn’t from Williams’ shoe and was a different size, and the hair fibres found weren’t his.
It was someone else that killed Gayle, not Williams.
DNA says Marcellus Williams didn't kill Felicia Gayle, but the Missouri Supreme Court wants to let his execution go ahead anyway. Thread:
— Sister Helen Prejean (@helenprejean) August 16, 2017
The execution by lethal injection may now only be halted by the United States Supreme Court or by the newly elected Missouri governor Eric Greitens.
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.