Execution Stayed for Marcellus Williams | KEEP FIGHTING!

What you should know:

Marcellus Williams was scheduled to be executed on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. Missouri Governor Eric Greitens stayed his execution Tuesday afternoon to appoint a board of inquiry to further examine the case, including DNA evidence that was not previously heard in court. The board of five retired judges will have subpoena power and will inform Gov. Greitens' ultimate decision.

We commend the governor's decision.

Read our update here.

Learn More About Racial Injustice and Missouri's Death Penalty

Are executions America's modern-day lynching?

"People of color in the United States, particularly young black men, are often assumed to be guilty and dangerous. In too many situations, black men are considered offenders incapable of being victims themselves. As a consequence of this country’s failure to address effectively its legacy of racial inequality, this presumption of guilt and the history that created it have significantly shaped every institution in American society, especially our criminal justice system." - Bryan Stevenson in A Presumption of Guilt.

Lynching in America: An Interactive Map of Missouri's 60 lynchings.

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ORDER Voices from the Edge

Voices from the Edge: The Impact of Missouri's Death Penalty on Victims, Correctional Staff & Families of the Executed is available now.

Order your copy to read MADP Victim Outreach Specialist Kate Siska's compilation of interviews with people directly impacted by the death penalty by clicking here.

These powerful testimonies remind us of the human cost of Missouri's broken death penalty.

Voices from the Edge cover

WATCH

WATCH an MADP exclusive: Death row exonerees Reggie Griffin and Joe Amrine talk to Sister Helen Prejean about their experiences as men of color subjected to the death penalty. Reggie spent 23 years on death row before the Missouri Supreme Court overturned his sentence because prosecutors had withheld critical evidence -- that a sharpened screwdriver had been confiscated from another inmate. Joe spent 17 years on death row before his sentence was overturned as there was never physical evidence linking him to the crime -- rather, prosecutors had relied on the testimonies of fellow inmates who later recanted and admitted they had lied. Read more about Reggie, Joe, and other exonerees' cases on our Innocence page: http://www.madpmo.org/innocence/

Does the death penalty deter crime? No.



There is no credible information with the last 50 years of research indicating that the death penalty deters violent crime. In 2013, murder rates were 23% lower in states without the death penalty. The Death Penalty Information Center says: "The last decade of reports from the FBI indicates states without the death penalty have lower murder rates than states with the death penalty."

Does the death penalty save money? No, it costs more.



Legal costs, pre-trial costs, jury selection, trial, incarceration, appeals, retrial costs make the death penalty expensive. A 2014 nonpartisan study by the Kansas Legislature found that death penalty cases cost 3-4 times more than similar cases where the death penalty is not sought.


Are innocent people convicted? YES: MISTAKES HAPPEN.



Exculpatory DNA has overturned hundreds of wrongful convictions.Since 1973, there have been 157 individuals in the U.S. sentenced to death and later exonerated. Four of these exonerations occurred in Missouri.


Racial Injustice in Application of Missouri's Death Penalty



Between 1976 and 2014, the state of Missouri executed 80 men. Eighty-one percent of these men were executed for the murder of White victims. This is striking given that 60 percent of all homicide victims in Missouri are Black. White women represent just 12 percent of all homicide victims, but constitute 37 percent of the victims in execution cases. Black men, by contrast, represent 52 percent of all homicide victims, but just 12 percent of the individuals who were executed were convicted of killing Black men.

  • Homicides involving White victims are seven times more likely to result in an execution than those involving Black victims.
  • Homicides involving White female victims are nearly 14 times more likely to result in an execution than those involving Black male victims.
  • Eighty-one percent of the individuals executed in Missouri were convicted of killing White victims even though White victims are less than 40% of all murder victims in the state.
  • Even though the vast majority of murders involve an offender and victim(s) of the same race, 54% of the African-American men executed by Missouri were convicted of crimes involving White victims.