Criminal is powered by Vocal.
Vocal is a platform that provides storytelling tools and engaged communities for writers, musicians, filmmakers, podcasters, and other creators to get discovered and fund their creativity.
How does Vocal work?
Creators share their stories on Vocal’s communities. In return, creators earn money when they are tipped and when their stories are read.
How do I join Vocal?
Vocal welcomes creators of all shapes and sizes. Join for free and start creating.
To learn more about Vocal, visit our resources.Show less
The Death Penalty
The death penalty is a very permanent punishment for a crime committed. So what happens if you are innocent? What if no-one will listen? It appears Marcellus Williams is the perfect person to ask about this.
Marcellus literally counted down the hours to his scheduled demise and was spared his date with death. Even though every attempt at appealing his sentence failed he was saved by our new Governor of Missouri. Governor Greitens decided it was worth the effort to ensure that taking someone's life was a decision based on facts. What a refreshing stance in a state with a broken court system.
The state of Missouri is in need of a serious overhaul when it comes to its justice system and hopefully the Governor is interested in taking on the task.
Marcellus Williams allegedly was placed on death row with only a few statements made from rather sketchy sources who gained monetarily to write them. One was a snitch who was Marcellus’ cellmate at some point and the other his ex girlfriend. Neither came forward until approached with a reward. Also, DNA evidence came back after his incarceration showing he was not a match for any of the DNA on the knife. Also interesting is the lack of physical evidence where the victim was murdered. There were absolutely no hairs, fibers, or any other physical evidence, found at the victim's home where she was stabbed to death.
The part of this whole case most troubling is the prosecutor’s unwillingness to recognize the physical evidence in the case. The fact that the prosecutors are relying so heavily on testimony from two people who are questionable witnesses, to say the least, is troubling. This is a permanent sentence. They claim there is "zero possibility" he was innocent. If so, I’ve yet to find anything so compelling online to make me believe Marcellus is guilty. As a matter of fact I don’t even see how it is possible.
I am pretty disturbed by the entire situation and the Prosecutor's inability to utilize an open mind when casually speaking about someone’s right to live. Marcellus is not only a human, he is also a father. He deserves to be heard, especially with such compelling evidence illustrating his innocence. I do want to mention, I only know what I have found online. Maybe the prosecutor’s hold some blazing gun they are not talking about. If this is true, it probably should have been included in discovery. Sometimes files are misplaced I guess? Especially when playing God with a man’s life.
So let's take a look at the evidence shall we? Here are the “facts” as presented by both attorneys:
Williams sold a laptop stolen from the victim's home. Hawley's office wrote in the filings that items belonging to the victim were found in a car Williams drove the day she was killed.
The car in which the victims’ belongings were found did not belong to Williams.
Defense Attorney Mr. Gipson said none of the victim's belongings had been found on his client. The car found allegedly with her stolen possessions was in derelict condition more than a year after the crime and was registered to someone else.
They had two totally credible and trustworthy witnesses who say Williams murdered the woman. One being his “cellie” or someone he served time with and the other his ex girlfriend.
A. The two informants only came forward after finding out about the $10,000.00 reward.
B. The two informants admitted to meeting up and discussing their testimony prior to giving it.
C. His “cellie” is a jailhouse informant essentially being paid for testimony. I’m not sure if you know a lot about prison, but inmates are not usually friendly with the prosecution or interested in helping them unless there is something in it for them. Essentially, he is a criminal in prison who probably could care less about the facts and just wants money put on his books. He is a criminal. Why in the world would anyone believe what he says especially enough to base a whole death penalty case on it?
D. His girlfriend later admitted she set him up for the reward money.
E. The defense also states the DNA testing becoming available after he was already convicted and sentenced to death proved it was not his DNA but an unknown male's DNA on the knife.
F. Hair samples and shoe prints at the crime scene also did not match Williams.
In addition the trial attorney for the prosecution was allowed to strike six of the seven prospective “black” jurors. Curiously, he also allowed a white postal employee on the jury but dismissed a black postal employee because he claimed the potential juror looked similar to the defendant.
The DNA testing came back as exculpatory. The definition of exculpatory is: evidence favorable to the defendant in a criminal trial that exonerates or tends to exonerate the defendant of guilt.
Another very questionable aspect of this case is the 2015 ruling from the the Supreme Court of Missouri. The Supreme Court issued a last-minute stay of execution to obtain DNA testing. However, when the results came in and it was the DNA of another person the court denied him a chance to present the evidence. They offered no opinion on the matter, just a denial and an execution date. Why did they even stay the execution to begin with and waste taxpayer money on DNA testing? Because they do what they want.
Probable Cause and Prosecutorial Accountability
Also possible are the people involved in the prosecution of both these cases and their desire to save face. Whether it was politically or racially motivated, it is important that ego never play a role in justice. To admit you almost took someone's life based on no type of solid evidence is not easy and puts a prosecutor's’ job, reputation, and previous convictions, at risk. Not exuding integrity when playing with a man’s life however, is absolutely unacceptable.
Burden of proof guidelines (what you need to file a charge) are weak at best. This is an issue because when you are charged with a crime, you are perceived as guilty until proven innocent in real life. You are hardpressed to get a job and the charges come up on background checks. Nobody will rent to you. You can’t get loans. You turn yourself in and your mugshot is posted on the internet. People judge you and it is embarrassing. Your reputation is destroyed. This is why so many innocent people take plea deals. They just want it to end and they are terrified.
Prosecutors enjoy a pretty stiff immunity in this state. This means they can do whatever they want and many times for a lifetime because they are rarely replaced. Also, it is in their best interest to file charges on every case they can because they succeed in overwhelming our public defenders who are spread thin and underpaid. A “good” attorney who is a partner in a firm will have partners to bounce cases off of and unlimited resources including paralegals and secretary’s. For people without money however, the only option is a public defender. Public defenders are great lawyers most of the time but they are drowning in cases and have no resources.
Prosecutors are supposed to be public servants who are interested in justice. It seems they are not that way at all. It seems they are blood thirsty and it’s all about winning. Plea deals even further break the system. Innocent people often take plea deals because they can’t afford to fight the system.
Anytime somebody holds a position and faces no accountability problems ensue. No one is perfect. The thought process behind this is, it’s better to have a few casualties than to overburden the system with civil cases and remove prosecutors attention from the criminals. By casualties they mean innocent people who pay the price of budget restraints. What people don’t seem to realize is, if prosecutors were held responsible for their actions and probable cause wasn’t so loose, the system wouldn’t even be overburdened. Also, filing a civil case requires money or a lawyer to do it for free. Lawyers don’t take cases they can’t win in civil court. So it appears that thinking is either outdated or fabricated.
To file charges against someone and at the same time face no repercussions for any bad decisions made is deplorable but should be criminal. People and families are affected in such a way many are unable to recover and lose their jobs, houses, cars, and futures. It is un-American along with absolutely irresponsible.
The longer everyone ignores the many problems of our judicial system, the worse it will get. How refreshing would it be to lead the country in judicial reform and have all the states follow? Hopefully, Governor Greitens is the change we so desperately needed and decides to address all of these issues. We cannot keep sending innocent people away. Even if there is only one case like this one, it is too many. What do you think of the facts in this particular case?