Execution Stayed For A Mississippi ManBy Jeffrey Hess | Published 07 May 2013 08:49pm |
Whether a Mississippi death row inmate lives or dies is still in question since the state Supreme Court has stayed his execution. The high court stopped the execution just hours before Willie Jerome Manning was scheduled to die.
Manning is on death row after being convicted of killing two Mississippi State University students in 1992.
The state had been planning to execute him Tuesday, but roughly four hours before the lethal injection the Supreme Court stopped the execution until it further reviews the case.
Manning's attorney David Voisin says in recent days the F-I admitted there were errors in agent's testimony about ballistics tests and hair analysis.
"We were certainly hoping that some of the justices would see that the convictions seem even less reliable than it may have seen before and be more inclined to grant a stay," Voisin said.
It is not clear if or when the execution will be re-scheduled but Voisin hopes the courts either call a re-trial or order DNA tests on some untested evidence he has been asking for.
Anti-death penalty advocate Benjamin Russell says this stay is only a temporary relief for Manning.
"We want to continue to push forward and to try and get this DNA testing done. And to try to get the finger prints run. So we can see once and for all if Mr. Manning actually committed the murders that he has been accused of," Russell said.
Attorney General Jim Hood has been adamant that there is overwhelming evidence of Manning's guilt, outside the untested evidence.
In a statement, hood says this decision continues a 20 year 'nightmare' for the victims and expecting the stay to be lifted and the execution to go forward.
Even as the hour of his execution approached, Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps says Manning maintained his innocence....claims Epps says is common for death row inmates.
"Absolutely. I have had them too literally on their way to being transported from the cell to the gurney to deny. And on the gurney I asked them 'have you got right with God and repented?' and they still deny. So I don't find that unusual and I have done 21 executions," Epps said.
It is unclear what the next step will be and when or if Manning's execution will be re-scheduled.
The Supreme Court has issued stays on the day of an execution at least three times since 2002...the most recent case, issued in 2011, is still unresolved with the inmate remaining on death row.
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