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Open Letter to Governor Greitens - Marcellus Williams

Honorable Governor Greitens,

After learning that the State of Missouri intends on executing Marcellus Williams, I am deeply disturbed that the evidence presented in the case may not be conclusive. Three weeks before Lisha Gayles’ murder and only three miles from Lisha’s home, another woman fitting the same physical profile was also murdered in her home. Women are rarely murdered in their homes unless it is related to domestic violence. This evidence suggests that a serial killer may be responsible. Given that the DNA evidence does not match Mr. Williams’ DNA, it is not appropriate for us to execute someone on that basis.

As a transgender woman, I have had the privilege of living in our society as a perceived white male with privilege, and I have also experienced this same society as a transgender woman. I can attest from my own experience that hatred runs deep within our society and in many ways. We should question whether race played a role in this case since prosecutor Bob McCulloch is very well known for his denial to prosecute the cop that killed Michael Brown in Ferguson resulting in riots across the city. Is it likely that Bob McCulloch would have been racially motivated to convict a black man suspected of murdering a white woman? The historical evidence suggests that there is. Furthermore, since the murder occurred on September 11, 1998, it would be hard to believe that the courts were not biased against a Muslim man during any proceedings after 9/11. Let’s remember that McCulloch struck 6 possible black jurors, leaving an all-white jury to decide Mr. Williams’ fate. When we speak of racial injustice, this case is a perfect example.

It is unfathomable that the courts have not compelled the prosecution to order a comparative DNA sample. As the author for the software that runs the molecular biology laboratory at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, I can assure you that a comparative DNA sample would tell us what the killer may have looked like and what illnesses the killer may have suffered from due to the genetic variants.

This case appears to be a continuation of the oppression against the black community here in Missouri. As evidenced by last week, our country is racially charged. Once a black man is “in the system” as was Mr. Williams, it is nearly impossible for black men to escape suspicion and scrutiny. I don’t believe that any of us believes that Mr. Williams was a saint based upon his prior record. Having committed petty crimes in the past does not make someone stab someone 43 times. Those are two different crimes with two different psychological profiles. The perpetrator clearly a psychopath to have done something like that. If Mr. Williams had this psychological profile, it would have appeared in other areas of his life.

Based upon the preliminary evidence, this case appears to be a racial injustice. As a wise old judge once said, it is easy to prosecute someone, but it takes courage and conviction to recognize when not to prosecute someone. Executing an innocent man is a far greater sin than failing to execute a guilty man.

Jenna Marie Bourgeois
Democratic Congressional Candidate
Missouri’s 4th District.

The Committee to Elect Jenna Marie Bourgeois

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