On June 29, 2023, Missouri Governor Mike Parson (pictured) lifted the stay of execution for Marcellus Williams, a death-sentenced prisoner convicted of murdering Felisha Gayle, a former St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter in 1998. Governor Parson also dissolved the Board of Inquiry, a judicial panel appointed by former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens to review evidence of innocence and provide recommendations on Mr. Williams’s application for executive clemency.

On August 22, 2017, former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens halted Mr. Williams’s execution by ordering a stay of execution and creating the Board of Inquiry to review newly discovered DNA evidence from two experts who had determined that DNA evidence on the knife did not match Mr. Williams. Prior to the scheduled execution, the Missouri Supreme Court denied Mr. Williams a new stay, despite obtaining results of that testing which supported his innocence claim. After Greitens resigned from office in 2018, Governor Parson advised the judicial panel to continue reviewing the evidence. The St. Louis Public Radio reported that the judicial panel has not convened since 2021, but the panel delivered its recommendations to Governor Parson. In his news release, Governor Parson stated all panel recommendations were confidential records under Missouri law. No execution date has been scheduled yet.

Governor Parson stated, “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.”


Jack Suntrup, Parson lifts stay of exe­cu­tion for man six years after Greitens issued it, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 302023.

View the Executive Order here.