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Principale » DNA evidence may exonerate death row inmate whose time is nearly up

DNA evidence may exonerate death row inmate whose time is nearly up

22 Août 2017

Now it is up to the US Supreme Court to decide whether or not to stall the lethal injection, or allow it to proceed.

But the Missouri State Supreme Court has denied a request put forth by Williams' lawyer, Kent Gipson, to review the new evidence.

Williams was convicted of killing 42-year-old Felicia Gayle inside of her home in 1998.

Gayle, 42, was stabbed repeatedly on August 11, 1998, after surprising the burglar in her home.

Gayle had been a St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter from 1981 to 1992, before she eventually turned to doing social work, the Post reported.

Attorneys for Williams say new DNA tests performed on the murder weapon point to a different killer. Gipson also cited previous DNA evidence showing that hairs found on Gayle's shirt, fingernails, and footprints at the scene, did not belong to Williams either.

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Now, Williams' attorneys have appealed to the US Supreme Court in order to halt this week's execution.

Gipson says that the new evidence "means in our mind the actual killer is not him", according to an interview he did with the Associated Press last week, the Post reported. Williams maintains his innocence and says he was convicted on the testimony of individuals who were, themselves, convicted felons. His cell mate from that time at a local jail, Henry Cole, and Laura Asaro, Williams' girlfriend, testified for the state, saying Williams told them separately that he committed the murder, according to the documents filed by the state attorney general.

"Based on the other, non-DNA evidence in this case, our office is confident in Marcellus Williams' guilt and plans to move forward", Loree Anee Paradise, deputy chief of staff for Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, told CNN in a statement.

Missouri's NAACP Executive Director Ron Chapel commented on the newly found evidence that suggests Williams is innocent. The existence of the DNA evidence, he wrote, casts "more than enough to justify a new trial or, at a minimum, a commutation of his sentence". "Evidence that could prove that he had nothing to do with the murder itself".

In addition to the murder conviction, Williams is also serving consecutive terms of life in prison for robbery, and 30 years each for burglary and weapons crimes.

DNA evidence may exonerate death row inmate whose time is nearly up