The community is putting pressure on Missouri Governor Eric Greitens to pardon Marcellus Williams, because he resigned from office yesterday in the wake of a sex scandal, but still has the power to exonerate Williams. The deadline is Friday at 5 p.m.!
Eric Greitens halted the execution of a man convicted of murdering a former Post-Dispatch reporter last year. In doing so, Greitens appointed a special panel of former judges to review whether Marcellus Williams should be granted clemency in the case involving the death in 1998 of Lisha Gayle.
Williams was 29 when he was charged with murdering Gayle. At the time, he had been convicted of burglary and was later convicted of an unrelated armed robbery at a restaurant. While Williams awaits his fate in the Potosi Correctional Center, the panel of retired judges is in the midst of a rare review of his controversial case, one that could result in his avoiding lethal injection for the second time.
Williams was convicted of murdering Gayle at her home in University City. Prosecutors said Williams allegedly was burglarizing the home when Gayle, who had been taking a shower, surprised him. The former reporter, who left the paper in 1992, fought for her life as she was stabbed repeatedly.
The Missouri Supreme Court in 2015 postponed Williams’ execution to allow time for the DNA tests. Using technology that was not available at the time of the killing, those tests show that DNA found on the knife matched that of an unknown male. Williams’ DNA was not found on the knife. Despite that finding, the state’s high court denied his petition to stop the execution and either appoint a special master to hear his innocence claim or vacate the death sentence and order his sentence commuted to life in prison.
With the rise of attention being brought on prison reform, William’s case and many others need to be considered in how sentencing and new evidence is handled. What do you think?