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Missouri Department of Corrections

Attorneys For A Missouri Death Row Inmate Says The State Will Execute An Innocent Man

Marcellus Williams, 48, is scheduled to die today. (Aug. 22) 

[UPDATE: Aug. 22, 4:45 p.m.]: Just four hours before Marcellus Williams' scheduled lethal injection, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens signed an executive order to stay the execution. According to the Washington Post, after much public pressure about potentially executing the wrong person, Greitens said he has appointed a board of inquiry to take a deeper look at the new DNA evidence and other factors. The board will also further consider Williams' clemency request, as well as issue a report determining whether or not he should still be executed or have his sentence commuted.

“A sentence of death is the ultimate, permanent punishment,” Greitens said in a statement. “To carry out the death penalty, the people of Missouri must have confidence in the judgment of guilt. In light of new information, I am appointing a Board of Inquiry in this case.”

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Lawyers for a Missouri death row inmate claim the state will willingly execute an innocent man despite new evidence proving their initial findings wrong.

Marcellus Williams, 48, is scheduled to be executed Tuesday (Aug. 22) at the state prison Bonne Terre for stabbing to death former St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Lisha Gayle on Aug. 11, 1998. Gayle walked in on her home being burglarized and according to the Associated Press was stabbed multiple times.

However, attorney Kent Gipson claims DNA evidence that wasn't available during the time of the killing now concludes that Williams isn't the killer. Gipson reportedly appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court seeking a new hearing or asking that Williams' sentence be commuted to life in prison. Gipson also asked Gov. Eric Greitens for clemency.

Gipson says according to DNA testing conducted in December, the results show that evidence found on the knife used to kill Gayle doesn't match Williams.  Previous testing of hairs found on Gayle's shirt and under her fingernails also exclude Williams, and a shoe print at the scene isn't Williams' either.

The new evidence “means in our mind the actual killer is not him,” Gipson said to the Associated Press. Yet, despite the new findings Loree Anne Paradise a spokeswoman for Attorney General said the office remains steadfast in their decision to execute.

Williams' conviction was based on the testimony of two convicted felons who were motivated to testify due to a $10,000 reward. One of those felons was Williams' ex-girlfriend and the other was Williams' cell mate. While new evidence shows Williams may be innocent of this crime he's serving consecutive life terms for robbery and a 30 years each for a burglary and weapons crimes.

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Ohio Racist Arrested For Threatening Mass Shooting At Jewish Community Center

An Ohio man was arrested for making threats against a local Jewish community center.

According to reports, local law enforcement became aware of James Reardon Jr., on July 11 after he posted an Instagram video of a man shooting a semi-automatic rifle. Sirens and screams could be heard in the background and officials said the 20-year-old tagged the Jewish Community Center of Youngstown in the post.

New Middletown Police Chief Vince D’Egidio said the video prompted an urgent and swift investigation into Reardon.

"That kicked off an intense investigation, a very rapidly evolving investigation, because of the way the world is," he said.

Reardon has branded himself a white nationalist and anti-Semite. He also reportedly attended  2017's "Unite The Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Over the weekend, the FBI's Violent Crimes Task Force raided Reardon's home and located a cache of guns, ammunition and other weapons including a gas mask and bulletproof armor.

Eleven men and women were killed at a Pittsburgh synagogue last October just an hour away from the community center in question. Increased security has been offered to the Jewish center prior to Reardon's arrest and will remain until further notice.

"This is a person that has declared himself as a white nationalist. With the hate crimes and everything else going on, we want to make sure we do our part to make sure this person was taken off the streets very quickly," D’Egidio said.

Reardon is being held n $250,000 bond. He's charged with telecommunications harassment and aggravated menacing.

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Kevork Djansezian

Eric Reid Blasts JAY-Z's NFL Deal: "When Has JAY Z Ever Taken A Knee?"

JAY-Z's recent partnership with the NFL has been met with a lot of raised eyebrows and condemnation.

The rap mogul vocally supported Colin Kaepernick's peaceful protest against police brutality and reportedly went as far as to talk Travis Scott out of performing during last year's halftime Superbowl. So when it was announced Roc Nation would help manage the league's entertainment and social justice leg, many didn't understand why.

The criticism only grew after the 4:44 artist alleged to have spoken to Kaepernick about his new business venture, only for his longtime girlfriend Nessa to refute the claims on social media.

TMZ  then reported JAY Z will have majority ownership in an NFL team, which now puts more pressure on him to be a change agent and not just a figurehead.

Eric Reid on Jay Z kneeling statement: “When has Jay Z ever taken a knee? For you get paid to go into a NFL conference and say we are past kneeling is asinine.” pic.twitter.com/BO9RCLUHek

— Ashley Holder (@AshNoelleTV) August 17, 2019

Carolina Panther's safety Eric Reid spoke with reporters about JAY-Z's newest venture and called it "despicable."

"When has JAY-Z ever taken a knee? Yes, he’s done a lot of great work," Reid said. "A lot of great social justice work, but for you to get paid to go into an NFL press conference and say that we’re past kneeling? Again, asinine. Players Coalition 2.0. He got paid to take the bullets that he’s taking now because we’re not having it.”

To Reid and many others, JAY-Z looks hypocritical.

“JAY-Z claimed to be a supporter of Colin, wore his jersey, told people not to perform at the Super Bowl because of the treatment that the NFL did to Colin. Now he’s going to be a part-owner and it’s kind of despicable.”

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Justin Sullivan

Tennessee Clerk Faces 60 Years For Killing Black Teen For Stealing A $2 Beer

A Tennessee clerk showed no emotion after a jury found him guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Dorian Harris.

Anwar Ghazali faces up to 60 years in prison for killing Dorian who stole a $2 beer from his Top Shop convenient store.

Ghazali's defense said he never intended to kill Dorian. Instead, his lawyer alleges he fired off shots in the air as a warning. However, Dorian was struck in his femoral artery, which caused him to bleed out. The teen's body was reportedly found later at a nearby abandoned home.

The 29-year-old store clerk didn't take the stand, however, his criminal defense attorney, Black Ballin, noted he was 77 feet away from Dorian when he chased after him, a long enough distance that proved he didn't intend to kill the teen.

"That's like Steph Curry standing on the other side of the court, and knowing that he'll make a shot at a 94-foot distance. Even Steph Curry can't guarantee that," Ballin said.

The prosecution, however, didn't care how far away Ghazali was and built their case based upon the surveillance video from the night in question. Prosecutors also stated that after the shooting, he didn't call local law enforcement and calmly walked back into the north Memphis convenience store to ring up more customers.

"The defendant took it upon himself to be the judge, the jury and the executioner over a $2 [drink]. That's why we're here," said Lora Fowler said during closing arguments. "Why are you using deadly force to defend a [drink]?"

The convenience store was reportedly closed for two weeks following the shooting as protests erupted throughout the city days after Dorian's murder

Ghazali will return to court on September 23rd and receive his sentencing.

 

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