Missouri governor issues stay of execution in light of DNA evidence

Remigio Civitarese
Agosto 23, 2017

Williams was scheduled for execution at 6pm on Tuesday.

"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", said Nina Morrison, senior staff attorney at the Innocence Project. The board will make a recommendation to the governor concerning whether Williams should be executed.

However, new evidence suggests Williams may be innocent, as DNA found on the knife used to kill Ms Gayle does not match his. This is unprecedented. "There is no physical evidence, no eyewitnesses that directly connect Williams to the murder, the DNA on the weapon wasn't his, the bloody footprint at the murder scene wasn't from Williams' shoe and was a different size, and the hair fibres found weren't his".

The new evidence 'means in our mind the actual killer is not him, ' Gipson told The Associated Press last week.

Loree Anne Paradise, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Josh Hawley, said the office remains confident that Williams is guilty based on other evidence in the case.

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

A Change.org petition created by the group, Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, to stop his execution has received over 225,000 signatures. Williams was sentenced [press release] to death in 2001 after being convicted of the first-degree murder of Felicia Gayle.

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