The death penalty case will move forward for a Missouri man convicted in the stabbing death of a former newspaper reporter. Gov. Mike Parson has signed an executive order to dissolve the Board of Inquiry in the case of Marcellus Williams – lifting the stay of execution for Williams’ death sentence.

Williams was convicted in the 1998 killing of former St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Felicia Gayle.

“This Board was established nearly six years ago, and it is time to move forward,” Parson said in a news release. “We could stall and delay for another six years, deferring justice, leaving a victim’s family in limbo, and solving nothing. This administration won’t do that. Withdrawing the order allows the process to proceed within the judicial system, and, once the due process of law has been exhausted, everyone will receive certainty.”

On August 22, 2017, Williams was scheduled to die by lethal injection. Former Gov. Eric Greitens stepped in that day and granted Williams a stay of execution. He appointed the board to examine new DNA evidence in the case. Lawyers for Williams alleged that DNA evidence found on the knife used to stab the victim was not Williams’s DNA.

In a written statement from Nimrod Chapel, president of the Missouri NAACP, he said Parson’s executive order marks a “significant shift in Missouri’s approach to justice.”

“Unfortunately, the governor’s stance on justice seems to be one that undermines Missouri’s moral fabric, promotes a culture of death, and even seeks to carry out executions personally. Shockingly, the justification for lifting the stay of execution for Williams boils down to a simple sentiment of ‘let’s get on with it.’ If this is the prevailing attitude, and the rule of law holds no meaning in Missouri, then it appears that the Republican order of the day will be to leave citizens to protect and defend themselves, be it at home, work, or places of worship. This trajectory is undoubtedly the worst possible outcome,” said Chapel.

No date has been set to carry out Williams’ sentence.

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