Petition update

"I want to go fishing with him." | Marcellus' son calls for justice

Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty

Jun 6, 2018 — Yesterday, we rallied with the Missouri NAACP and death row exonerees Joe Amrine and Reggie Griffin, calling on new Gov. Parson to commute the sentence of Marcellus Williams.

His son, Marcellus Williams II, joined us.

"I’ve been fighting my whole life—that’s just how it is, especially when you’re a black man in America," Marcellus II said. "And people say that’s the race card. But man, that’s the ‘real life’ card. That’s the world we live in. You’ve got to fight to be equal.”

"I'm his only child, " said Marcellus II. "My father has a tender heart and is very genuine.

"He wants what everybody else wants - to have a family, have love, have grandkids."

"I want to go fishing with him."

Nimrod Chapel, Jr., president of the Missouri NAACP, discussed how Marcellus' case fits a context of troublesome racial circumstances in Missouri, where policing and other practices within the criminal justice system are receiving heightened scrutiny.

Because Marcellus has been on death row for 15 years, said Rita Linhardt of the Missouri Catholic Conference, there has been no justice for the victim's family.

"Truth lies in the physical evidence, none of which ties Mr. Williams to the crime," said Rita. "We ask the governor to stand for life, healing, and justice. Now we ask the Board of Inquiry to do the same - to stand for justice for Mr. Williams and Ms. Gayle."

Reggie Griffin and Joe Amrine, who spent a combined 40 years on Missouri's death row for crimes they did not commit before being exonerated, pointed out how Marcellus' case mirrors what they experienced firsthand, especially as black men convicted and sentenced to death by all-white or nearly white juries, based on unreliable witnesss testimony. Marcellus' case was just like theirs, they said - down to the prosecutorial misconduct.

"At my appeal with the Missouri Supreme Court, one of the prosecutors even admitted out loud to the judges that he was not seeking the truth in my case - he was seeking a conviction," said Joe.

"We need the Board of Inquiry.. to look at all the evidence here - and need them to know that racial bias and this broken system are threatening our very lives," said Reggie.

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