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Death row inmate’s execution halted thanks new DNA evidence

The execution of convicted murderer held on death row for 16 years was halted with just hours to spare after new DNA evidence was found.

Marcellus Williams was being prepared to be put to death for the killing of a former newspaper reporter when he was granted a stay by Missouri Governor Eric Greitens.

“A sentence of death is the ultimate, permanent punishment,” he 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.”

According to the ST.Louis Post, the execution of the 48-year-old had been scheduled for Tuesday evening but was stopped when his legal team said that DNA evidence unavailable during his 2001 trial proved his innocence.

Greitens’ office had argued the execution should go ahead, saying it didn’t overcome the non-DNA evidence that connected him to Felicia Gayle’s death.Attorneys for Williams have argued he is innocent, pointing to new tests that they say produced “conclusive scientific evidence that another man committed this crime.”

They say it shows that DNA belonging to someone else was found on the murder weapon, exonerating Williams.

Hairs found on Gayle’s body also excluded him said forensic DNA expert Greg Hampikian, who examined the evidence.

“They’re never going to ever confront an actual innocence cause more persuading than this involving exonerating DNA evidence,” said Kent Gipson, one of Williams’s attorneys.

“I’ve seen a lot of miscarriages of justice, but this one would take the cake.”

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