Updated: Tuesday, August 22, 2017 6:57 pm EDT
Missouri Governor Eric Greitens has issued a stay of execution for Marcellus Williams. The stay was granted to allow a Board of Inquiry to further investigate Marcellus' case, including the results of recent DNA testing.
Updated: Monday, August 21, 2017 11:57 am EDT
Marcellus S. Williams is scheduled to be executed at 6 pm CDT, on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Corrections Center in Bonne Terre, Missouri. Forty-eight-year-old Marcellus is convicted of murdering Felicia “Lisha” Gayle on August 11, 1998, in University City, Missouri, while robbing her home. Marcellus has spent the last 14 years on Missouri’s death row.
As a child, Marcellus alleges he was physically and sexually abused by family members. He also says his family encouraged him into criminal behavior. He was exposed to guns, drugs, and alcohol at a young age, which he later became addicted to. His family was impoverished and dysfunctional. Marcellus had a lengthy criminal record, including 16 convictions for robbery, burglary, assault, and unlawful use of a weapon, among others. According to his family, Marcellus was a loving and supportive father to his son and step-daughter.
On August 11, 1998, Marcellus Williams took a bus to University City, Missouri and began looking for places to burglarize. Williams noticed the home of Lisha Gayle. He knocked on the door, and, after receiving no answer, broke into the home. He heard water running from the bathroom. He grabbed a butcher knife from the kitchen and waited of Lisha to come into the kitchen.
Williams stabbed and cut Lisha 43 times. Seven of the wounds were fatal. After killing Lisha, Williams washed his hands and put on his jacket to hide the bloodstains. He also took Lisha’s purse and her husband’s laptop computer. Williams then took the bus to return home.
Williams’ girlfriend discovered the stolen items and confronted him about them. Williams confessed to her what he had done, but she did not go to the police, as Williams threatened her life, her children’s lives, and her mother’s life.
Williams was arrested on unrelated charges on August 31, 1998. During his incarceration, Williams told his cell-mate about the murder, after they saw a news report about it. Williams told his cell-mate considerable details of the crime. Williams’ cell-mate went to the police after he was released in June of 1999. He was able to provide details of the crime which had never been made public. Police contacted William’s girlfriend, who told police what Williams had told her. Police discovered several item belonging to Lisha after they searched Williams’ vehicle. Williams was tried and convicted of Lisha’s murder.
The Missouri Supreme Court has refused to stay Marcellus Williams' execution. Marcellus and his lawyers were requesting that his execution be halt and his sentence reconsidered as recent testing has failed to show Marcellus' DNA on the murder weapon. While the Missouri Supreme Court has rejected the request, Marcellus' lawyers plan to appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States. The Missouri Governor is also reviewing the case.
Please pray for peace and healing for the family of Lisha Gayle. Please pray that if Marcellus is innocent, the truth will be revealed before his execution. Please pray for strength for Marcellus’ family. Please pray that Marcellus will come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already.