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St. Louis Prosecutor Asks to Vacate Conviction, Citing New State Law

Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell is seeking to vacate the conviction of death-row resident Marcellus Williams, following a forensic test that revealed male DNA on the weapon that didn't belong to Williams, reports The Intercept. That evidence has never been reviewed by any court, Bell noted in a newly filed motion, but "casts inexorable doubt on Mr. Williams’s conviction and sentence." Bell is invoking a relatively new provision of Missouri law that allows prosecutors to intervene in cases when they have “information that the convicted person may be innocent.”

Bell asked for a hearing in St. Louis County Circuit Court, where Williams was convicted, to consider the DNA evidence and other serious flaws in the case against Williams. As part of his inquiry, Bell’s office is also reviewing the police investigation of Williams to determine if it was “intentionally or recklessly deficient” and is conducting a probe into an “alternate perpetrator.” Bell's request comes shortly after Missouri’s attorney general asked the state Supreme Court to set a date for Williams’s execution.


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