Court Halts Upcoming Execution of Marcellus Williams

This week the MO Supreme Court halted the execution of Marcellus Williams, who was scheduled for execution on January 28.  Williams was convicted of the stabbing death of Lisha Gayle in her home in 1998.

Williams has been pleading for more time in order for additional DNA testing to be done. The high court put off the execution to give his claim time to be heard.  His attorneys had been arguing that the evidence was so weak that there was substantial doubt about his guilt.

There was no physical or scientific evidence linking Williams to the crime.  There was forensic evidence, but it did not point to him.  In fact, the limited forensic testing conducted excluded him.  He was convicted mainly on the testimony of two witnesses who had troubled histories and who both stood to gain from testifying.

The attorneys had petitioned the court for additional testing of unknown forensic evidence completed and submitted for comparison to known DNA profiles contained in the Missouri DNA database and the FBI’s CODIS database.  The trace evidence included hairs on the victim’s shirt and rug and fingernail clippings taken from Ms. Gayle containing blood and skin tissue.

It is not known when the court will hear his claim regarding the DNA testing.

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