Marcellus Williams, 48, was convicted of a murder almost 20 years ago and now he’s scheduled to be executed on Tuesday, despite new DNA evidence that his lawyers say proves his innocence.
According to CNN, back in September of 1998, Williams was convicted of stabbing 42-year-old Felicia Gayle, a former reporter at the St. Louis Post Dispatch, 43 times in her home.
New evidence shows that Williams’ DNA was not found on the murder weapon, but court documents say that the evidence was not available when Williams went to trial in 2001.
Greg Hampikian, the forensic DNA expert, and biologist hired by defense lawyers said, “When you’re stabbing, DNA transfers because of restriction and force. If you’re stabbing anyone, you have a good chance of transferring your DNA because of that force.” The analysis of DNA on the knife “isn’t enough to incriminate someone, but it is enough to exclude somebody.”
In a statement released on Monday, the state attorney’s office claims that Williams’ guilt was proven without his DNA. Loree Anne Paradise, the deputy chief of staff for Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, said, “Based on the other, non-DNA, evidence, in this case, our office is confident in Marcellus Williams’ guilt and plans to move forward.”
According to court documents, the non-DNA evidence reportedly included a laptop that belonged to the victim’s husband, which was sold by Williams and recovered by police, as well as personal items belonging to the victim that were found in the trunk of the car that Williams drove.
Lawyers for Williams have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stop Tuesday’s execution, and examine the new evidence they have presented.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, on August 15th the Missouri Supreme Court reportedly turned down the lawyer’s bid to stop the execution and did not provide a reason as to why.
Williams maintains his innocence and has said he was convicted on the testimony of individuals who were themselves convicted felons.
Williams’ son, Marcellus Williams II, said in an interview with CNN, “Someone murdered that woman, but it wasn’t my father. I wish they would find the right suspect and charge them to the fullest extent of the law.”
An online petition has been created with hopes to prevent the execution of Williams, which is scheduled for Tuesday, August 22nd at 7pm ET.