Marcellus Williams is a black man who faced an all-white jury, charged with murder in the same county as the entire Ferguson disgrace. He was convicted solely on the word of a jailhouse snitch offering testimony for some leniency--and an ex-girlfriend who admitted to a cocaine addiction at the time of the trial. There is no physical evidence linking him to the crime. That was strike two.
Marcellus Williams' attorneys have incontrovertible DNA evidence taken from under the victim's nails and from the murder weapon exonerating him. Using new techniques, DNA experts were able to state that Marcellus Williams could not have committed the murder. (Source : http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/missouri-supreme-court-denies-request-stay-execution#stream/0 )
On August 16, 2017, the Mo. Supreme Court denied a stay of execution after this same DNA evidence proved that Marcellus Williams could not have committed the murder. The court failed to give any explanation for their actions, so any subsequent appeals to the Supreme Court will be most likely useless as the SCOTUS will have no procedural legal basis to consider the request. (Source : http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/missouri-supreme-court-denies-request-stay-execution#stream/0 )
On August 22, 2017, at 6pm, Marcellus Williams will be executed for a murder he did not commit. Evidence clearing him will not be considered. That is the third and final strike.
The history of the crime"
Marcellus was charged with the murder of St. Louis Post-Dispatch journalist Felicia Gayle. Prosecutors said that Felicia Gayle was murdered in her home when she interrupted a robbery in progress. That was in 1998. They charged Marcellus Williams with Gayle's murder, and an all-white jury in St. Louis County sentenced him to death in 2001. One last thing, Felicia Gayle was a white woman living in a gated community and Marcellus Williams is black.
Postman Gambit strategy and other accusations of prosecutorial misconduct"
Attorneys for Marcellus Williams argued that the trial judge improperly allowed illegally obtained evidence into court arguments. Additionally his attorneys argued that jury instructions were tainted with bias against the defendant, and that the jury selection itself used a technique that insured an all-white jury. Former St. Louis County Chief Trial Attorney, Dean Waldemer is credited as the architect of the "Postman Gambit", a technique designed to massively exclude black persons from sitting on St. Louis County capital juries. This tactic was used in the capital cases of Andre Cole, Kimber Edwards and Marcellus Williams. The 'Postman Gambit' speaks to a frequent practice of excluding black jurors from a population pool which includes a statistically significant percentage of black persons. Given the demographics of St. Louis County, it is highly unlikely that all-white juries would result if the prosecutor's office were following legitimate rules for jury selection.
Why jury selection matters--and why Postman Gambit is prosecutorial misconduct"
The 'postman gambit' references the case of Herbert Smulls, a black man facing a capital murder trial. In this case, the assistant prosecuting attorney had a black woman dismissed from the jury pool because she was a postal worker, and this prosecutor made the asinine claim that postal workers were untrustworthy, and thus unfit to serve as jurors. The reality of this strategy lies in its inherent slimy dishonesty. Prosecutors find any trivial excuse to dismiss potential black jurors in capital cases where the defendant is also black--all the while manufacturing plausible deniability regarding any questions of racial bias. It's laughingly referred to as the 'postman gambit' because the first black juror dismissed happened to be a postal worker. (Source : http://www.takepart.com/article/2015/04/01/st-louis-county-has-jury-selection-problem-and-it-s-killing-black-people)
UC Berkeley law professor calls out 'postman gambit' as racial bias"