Missouri governor halts inmate’s planned execution

A Missouri man, Marcellus Williams, is facing execution despite new DNA evidence that suggests that he is innocent, after being convicted of murdering a woman in her home in 1998.

MISSOURI — ┬áMissouri Gov. Eric Greitens has halted the scheduled execution of condemned killer Marcellus Williams after DNA raised questions about his guilt.

The Republican governor said in an email Tuesday that he was issuing a stay of execution for Williams, who was convicted of fatally stabbing former St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Lisha Gayle during a burglary at her suburban St. Louis home in 1998. Williams was scheduled for execution at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

The governor’s decision comes after Williams’ attorneys cited DNA evidence found on the murder weapon that matched another unknown person, but not Williams. But St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch said there was ample other evidence to convict Williams, and that there was “zero possibility” he was innocent.

Greitens says he will appoint a five-member board of inquiry that will include retired judges. The board will make a recommendation to the governor concerning whether Williams should be executed. No timetable has been set.