Marcellus Williams will not be put to death on Tuesday after a review of his case was requested following new DNA evidence.
In a report from CNN, Williams’ death penalty was canceled after Gov. Eric Greitens issued a stay of execution.
“A sentence of death is the ultimate, permanent punishment,” Greitens said in a statement. “To carry out the death penalty, the people of Missouri must have confidence in the judgment of guilt. In light of new information, I am appointing a Board of Inquiry in this case.”
Williams’ attorneys said that DNA evidence unavailable during his 2001 trial proved his innocence, but the Missouri Attorney General’s Office still supported the execution going through, arguing that DNA evidence doesn’t overcome non-DNA evidence that connects the inmate to the crime.
Following this, Greitens created a five-person Board of Inquiry to review the case.
“We are relieved and grateful that Gov. Greitens halted Missouri’s rush to execution and appointed a Board of Inquiry to hear the new DNA and other evidence supporting Mr. Williams’ innocence,” Nina Morrison, senior staff attorney at the Innocence Project which assisted Williams’ attorneys in getting Greitens to create the board, said.
Although Williams’ DNA was found nowhere at the crime scene where Felicia Gayle (the woman he is accused of murdering) was killed, the state attorney general’s office still believes Williams is responsible for the death.