Photo: The Daily Progress

ST. LOUIS, MO - A man named Marcellus Williams is set to be executed by the state of Missouri on Tuesday August 22nd at 6pm. In January 2015, the Supreme Court of Missouri had granted him a stay of execution, calling for further genetic testing. After scientific analysis of evidence from the scene, his lawyer Kent Gipson sent in a petition (https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3932140-PETITION-FOR-WRIT-OF-HABEAS-CORPUS-MARCELLUS.html) on the 14th for another stay.

The following day, the Court refused, without giving reason, to review the evidence that had the potential to free him. The scientific evidence according to the petition is that DNA in some of the blood found on the knife found in the victim’s body matches not Williams’, but an unknown male. Previously, there had been no physical evidence that pointed to Williams. According to the defendant, hairs, blood, and skin found at the scene, coupled with the fact that only one assailant could have been present, should have excluded him as the perpetrator.

The 2005 opinion from the court (www.courts.mo.gov/file.jsp?id=26355) rejecting an appeal gave a long list of all the things the defendant failed to do at the time of the trial, thus claiming that the court had done its duty. Gipson’s petition declares that Williams’ lawyers were at the time incredibly overworked do their participation in another murder case and would thus have not been performing their best. Later, in 2015, the court stated that his case does not fulfill the requirements to call for post-trial DNA testing. As mentioned earlier, they did later order further DNA testing, which was completed and presented by Gipson this Monday the 14th.

As reported by St. Louis Public Radio, the governor of Missouri, Eric Greitens, and a legal team are currently reviewing the case. Furthermore, Marcellus Williams is black and his alleged victim was a white woman in a well-off neighborhood, something that would likely have affected the opinion of the mostly-white court and jury regardless of his guilt or innocence, especially in reference to his being issued the death penalty. Statistics show that in Missouri, African American men are more likely than white men to be sentenced to death. In order to believe in the death penalty, one must believe in thorough analysis, which the state of Missouri has neglected to carry out.

Whether or not he is guilty, he will be executed with significant doubts regarding legal procedure, and with the near-definite likelihood that he was given the death penalty because he is black and not because of any extra severity of the crime committed. Please contact the office of the governor of Missouri and request a commutation of his sentence to life without parole. There is no harm in stopping the execution of a guilty man, but the execution of an innocent is blood on the hands of the state.

This piece was published originally by College Reaction on Collegereaction.com

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