Missouri Governor Eric Greitens signed a stay of execution for Marcellus Williams earlier today. Williams was scheduled to die at 6 p.m. this evening by lethal injection for the 1998 slaying of Felicia Gayle, a 'St. Louis Post-Dispatch' reporter. The 2-page executive order was released amid a storm of public support and outcry on social media, asking the governor to grant the stay. Activists from all over the world took to Twitter and other social media platforms asking Governor Greitens to grant the stay and appoint a board of inquiry.

Public Request from MIP

The Midwest Innocence Project posted a video request to their Facebook page on Friday asking for the public's help in lobbying to stop Williams' scheduled execution.

Tricia Bushnell, director for the MIP, points out in the video plea that the DNA testing had been court ordered, but the results had never been presented in a hearing. "That means Mr. Williams' claims of innocence have not been heard," she states during the video plea. She goes on to explain that the Midwest Innocence Project had asked Governor Greitens to establish a board of inquiry to hear the new DNA evidence.

Bushnell also explained that some of the testimony in the trial may not be honest and factual. She pointed out that witnesses did not come forward until a $10,000 reward was offered. She also pointed out that besides the incentivized testimony, no physical evidence existed that tied Marcellus Williams to the crime. The results of the DNA testing have developed a profile for an as-yet unknown male, and none of Williams' DNA is present on the murder weapon.

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Attorney General Still Confident

The Missouri attorney general, Joshua D. Hawley pointed to other factors that needed to be considered in recent court filings. The filings referred to non-DNA evidence that had been presented such as the witness testimony of Williams' ex-girlfriend and a former cellmate. The filing also points out that Williams was in possession of a laptop that belonged to Felicia Gayle. In an email sent Tuesday, Hawley's deputy chief of staff Loree Ann Paradise continued to express confidence in the 2001 conviction, and expressed plans to move forward with the execution. Even after Governor Greitens granted the stay, Hawley's office expressed confidence in the 16 year old ruling. "We remain confident in the judgment of the jury and the many courts that have carefully reviewed Mr. Williams' case over sixteen years," she wrote on Tuesday.