Local Advocacy Groups Want Stay of Manning ExecutionBy Jeffrey Hess | Published 01 May 2013 04:23pm |
The state of Mississippi is preparing to execute 44-year old Willie Jerome Manning next week for two 1992 murders. But, Manning believes DNA tests on previously untested evidence would prove his innocence.
The state is planning to execute Manning for the 1992 murder of two Mississippi State University students.
Manning wants to delay the execution to run DNA test on some hair and other evidence collected at the time of the crime, but never tested.
Tucker Carrington with the Mississippi Innocence Project has filed a brief with the state Supreme Court supporting Manning's efforts.
"This is a policy matter separate and apart from the guilt or innocence of Mr. Manning. Our position is that we should conduct DNA testing. We have the material and we have the ability to do the testing. And we ought to do it before we execute somebody," Carrington said.
Manning's lawyers say those test could prove his innocence, something that Carrington says has happened before in Mississippi.
The state Supreme Court has ruled that the testing is unnecessary because there is enough evidence that points towards Manning's guilt.
Attorney General Jim Hood says the calls for delay are attempts by lawyers to 'sandbag' the execution.
"This case is clear. The evidence is clear that this man committed these heinous murders. It is time for this execution to be carried out. I think our courts haev already reviewed this issue and many other involved in this case for many, many years," Hood said.
Manning received two death sentences for the deaths of Jon Steckler and Tiffany Miller, whose bodies were discovered in rural Oktibbeha County in 1992.
Prosecutors say he was arrested while attempting to sell items that belonged to the victims.
The execution is set for May 7.
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