Marcellus Williams was convicted of the August 11, 1998 murder of Felicia Gayle.
Post-conviction new DNA tests that show Williams’ DNA was not on the weapon that killed Felicia Gayle. The DNA of another unidentified man was on the weapon. The victim was stabbed 43 times, and it stands to reason that the male DNA on the weapon is that of the actual culprit.
The state of Missouri said that the other evidence in the case is still strong. Yet that evidence consisted of the testimony of informants, both drug addicts, who received financial incentives to testify against him. The footprint at the crime scene and the hair samples from the crime scene do not match Williams either.
To be sure, Williams had a number of items belonging to the victim and sold a laptop belonging to the victim’s husband. That is strong circumstantial evidence. Then again, those items were found by one of the cooperating informants, Williams’ girlfriend at the time. The case was built around the informants. Both had hoped to get a $10,000 reward.
The jury that convicted Williams never heard about the DNA evidence, and it is hard to imagine that if he was tried today that he would get a death sentence, given the new doubts about guilt. That DNA evidence has never been presented in court.
There is evidence that the informants, Cole and Asaro, spoke on the phone while Cole was still in jail, suggesting a conspiracy between Cole and Asaro. And Asaro was a prostitute, and might have got the laptop from another of her clients. Moreover it was apparently Asaro that sold the laptop, not Marcellus.