Missouri Governor Permits Death Penalty Case to Continue
The case involves Marcellus Williams, who was convicted of the stabbing death of former St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Lisha Gayle during a burglary in 1998.
According to U.S. News, Missouri Governor Parson dissolved a panel of five former judges that had been reviewing Williams’ case and lifted the stay on his execution, although no execution date has been set yet.
According to prosecutors, Williams allegedly broke into Gayle’s home by breaking a window pane. Upon hearing the shower running, he reportedly armed himself with a large butcher knife.
When Gayle came downstairs, she was brutally stabbed 43 times. Williams allegedly stole her purse and her husband’s laptop before leaving the scene.
Prosecutors also presented testimony from a fellow inmate, Henry Cole, who claimed that Williams confessed to the crime and provided specific details about it.
Williams’ defense team countered these claims, asserting that both the girlfriend and Cole were convicted felons motivated by a $10,000 reward.
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Williams’ defense lawyer has not yet responded to requests for comment. However, in 2017, Williams was moments away from execution when then-Governor Eric Greitens intervened and ordered an investigation.
This action followed the discovery of new DNA evidence that was not available at the time of the crime.
The DNA found on the murder weapon did not match Williams but belonged to an unknown person.
Despite the new DNA evidence, the former St. Louis County prosecutor maintains that Williams is guilty and argues that there is substantial additional evidence to support the conviction.
Missouri Governor Parson stated that the time has come to move forward and emphasized the need for certainty and closure for all parties involved.
With the governor’s decision to allow the case to continue, the spotlight will remain on Missouri as the legal process unfolds, ultimately determining the fate of Marcellus Williams.