Manning Attorneys Continue Fight for Stay of ExecutionBy Jeffrey Hess | Published 03 May 2013 04:32pm |
A Mississippi man has less than two days to live before he is executed by the state. But, attorneys and supporters of Willie Jerome Manning say he is innocent.
According to his supporters, untested evidence and a racially biased jury could be the reason that Willie Jerome Manning is facing execution tomorrow.
Manning has been convicted in the 1992 murder of two Mississippi State University students and appeals to overturn that verdict have failed in state and federal courts.
But Manning's attorney David Voisin says DNA tests on previously untested evidence could shed new light on the case and prove Manning's innocence.
"You've have got this new evidence. This stuff that can be tested that the jury didn't hear. And that can make a difference. And it doesn't make sense to lock in only to what was available in 1994 when it is a world of difference with DNA testing and other technologies," Voisin said.
Voisin also says the jury was racially biased against Manning, who is black, because black potential jurors were kept off the jury.
Manning's supporters point to the case of Kennedy Brewer, a Mississippian who was released after 15 years on death row once DNA evidence proved he was innocent.
Former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz voted to keep Brewer in prison, and says he would not want the state to repeat his mistake.
"It was a unanimous vote. The full court did so. Fortunately, a couple a years later they were able to test the DNA and Mr. Brewer's case and it was shown that he was actually completely innocent of the crime that he was on death row for. And that is why it is so important to test DNA when we have it available," Diaz said.
But multiple courts have rejected the requests for more tests saying other evidence overwhelmingly points to Manning as the murderer.
Attorney General Jim Hood sees the calls for new testing as an attempt to delay the execution.
"This case is clear. The evidence is clear that this man committed these heinous murders and it is time for this execution to be carried out," Hood said.
Supporters of Manning are calling on Governor Phil Bryant to issue a stay in the execution to allow time for the D-N-A tests to go forward.
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