Deathrow Inmate Denied Stay Of ExecutionBy Jeffrey Hess | Published 06 May 2013 05:19pm |
Mississippi is planning to execute a man tonight, despite his supporter’s claims that DNA tests could prove his innocence. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports state officials are declining the test because they believe it would not change the outcome of the case.
Willie Jerome Manning is set to die by lethal injection tonight for the murder of two Mississippi State University students in 1992.
Over the weekend, the Department of Justice sent a letter saying some of the statements about hair used as evidence in the conviction 'exceed the limits of science and was therefore invalid'.
His supporters, like anti-death penalty advocate Benjamin Russell, say that letter strengths the case that DNA tests should be done on the hair.
"We are just asking for a chance to go ahead and test that DNA. Let's make sure before the state of Mississippi risks putting a person to death who might possible be innocent," Russell said.
But those calls for DNA testing have been rejected by the state.
Attorney General Jim Hood says they would not change the outcome of the case.
"He was trying to sell a watch of one of the victims and a class ring. One lady testified that he tried to sell those items to her. He was seen wearing them. So there is a tremendous amount of evidence out there indicating this defendant’s guilt," Hood said.
The prosecutor who tried the case, now the Okktibbeha County district attorney Forest Allgood, says he is confident in the conviction.
"They usually say there is something else why this guy didn't do it. I do believe the man did it. He was convicted of this double killing and another double killing. So he was convicted of killing four people," Allgood said.
Mississippi law allows DNA testing even after a conviction if it could change the outcome of a case.
Late Monday the state Supreme Court again rejected Manning's requests for a stay of execution and DNA tests.
Mississippi College School of Law Professor Matt Steffe says he is surprised that the state Supreme Court ruled against Manning.
"Given that it could play a powerful role. And given that the standard is low. I am surprised that a majority of the court concluded that DNA evidence is utterly fruitless," Steffe said.
Unless the Governor issues a stay of execution, Manning is scheduled to die at Parchman at 6 o'clock tonight.
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