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Attorney files legal motion for death row inmate

JACKSON — The attorney for the man convicted of killing two Mississippi State University students two decades ago filed a legal motion Friday in hopes of sparing the death row inmate from execution next month.

The Mississippi Supreme Court set a May 7 execution date for Willie Jerome Manning.

Manning’s attorney seeks a rehearing of the case by the Mississippi Supreme Court because of matters that were “overlooked or misapprehended.”

“For the DNA claim, the court overlooked the undisputed evidence that the technology for testing much of the biological evidence, primarily hair evidence, was not available at the time of (the) trial,” the motion stated.

Manning, who’s now 44 years old, received two death sentences for the slayings of Natchez native Jon Steckler and Tiffany Miller.

Their bodies were discovered in rural Oktibbeha County on Dec. 11, 1992.

Each was shot to death, and Miller’s car was missing. The vehicle was found the next morning.

Prosecutors said Manning was arrested after he tried to sell some items belonging to the victims.

His conviction was upheld by the Mississippi Supreme Court, which also denied Manning’s post-conviction petition. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals turned Manning’s request for appeal down in July 2012. The court said Manning filed his post-conviction claim too late to be heard in state courts.