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To: Missouri Governor Eric Greitens; Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley
Re: STOP THE EXECUTION OF MARCELLUS WILLIAMS
We, the undersigned, are deeply concerned about the pending August 22 execution date for Marcellus Williams.
Marcellus Williams is scheduled to be executed on Tuesday, August 22, 2017. He was convicted of the August 11, 1998 robbery and murder of 42-year-old Felicia Gayle in her St. Louis home. However, the Missouri Supreme Court issued a stay of his execution in 2015 to test DNA evidence. The results did NOT match Marcellus. Marcellus’ conviction relies on the testimony of two witnesses, who both received compensation in some form.
Missouri’s death penalty is broken for many reasons, including but not limited to racial injustice, disparities in representation and sentencing, prosecutorial misconduct, and public opinion. These issues are all present in Marcellus Williams’ case.
African-Americans are disproportionately represented on Missouri’s death row relative to the state’s overall population — less than a quarter of the Missouri’s population is black, yet nearly two-thirds of the Missouri’s death row are black. This overrepresentation of African-Americans on death row strongly suggests racial bias in the administration of justice.
St. Louis County, where Marcellus was sentenced to death row, in particular, has a pattern of troubling racial disparities in capital cases. Marcellus was convicted by a jury of 11 white and 1 black jurors. Andre Cole, executed in 2015, and Kimber Edwards, executed in January of this year, were both sentenced by an all-white jury.
Additionally, St. Louis County is one of Missouri’s deadliest counties. 80% of Missouri’s total executions are concentrated in just 2.4% of its 114 counties — this suggests that some regions are home to particularly blood thirsty prosecutors and that Missouri’s death penalty is carried out with disturbing arbitrariness.
Governor Greitens, you have a moral responsibility now to prevent a wrongful death. Do not execute Marcellus Williams.