Innocence Project organizations file to stop execution

Published 11:14pm Tuesday, April 30, 2013

JACKSON (AP) — Two organizations that help exonerate inmates using DNA evidence have asked the state Supreme Court to let them file briefs to support Willie Jerome Manning’s effort to avoid execution on May 7.

Attorneys for Manning asked the court Tuesday to stop the execution. They also said they will file a clemency petition with Gov. Phil Bryant.

Manning was handed two death sentences for the slayings of Mississippi State University students Jon Steckler, who was also a Natchez native, and Tiffany Miller, whose 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.

On Friday, Manning, now 44, asked the Supreme Court to reconsider its 5-4 denial of DNA testing that he argues will prove he is innocent.

The Supreme Court has not yet ruled on the motions.

In their motion, the Mississippi Innocence Project and Innocence Project New Orleans said Manning’s appeal is “exactly the kind of case where DNA testing could prove innocence or guilt.”

“Just because it’s hard to imagine a scenario where DNA testing could exonerate Willie Manning, doesn’t mean there isn’t one,” the groups wrote.

Last week, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against Manning’s request for DNA testing. The majority said there was substantial evidence to convict Manning.

“Manning fails to demonstrate a reasonable probability that he would not have been convicted or would have received a lesser sentence if favorable results had been obtained through such forensic DNA testing at the time of the original prosecution,” the majority said.

Four other justices sided with Manning, saying the DNA testing, if favorable to Manning, would raise questions about his guilt.

In his motion to stay the execution, Manning said a delay would allow time to reconsider the issue both he and the two groups have raised and which the Supreme Court appeared deeply divided.



  • Anonymous

    the “waste of oxygen” didn’t get caught for just selling “some items”!!!
    It amazes me how easy it is for a host of bleeding heart liberal scumbags to distort the facts of this case. The stolen items only represented a fraction of the evidence against him!!!


  • khakirat

    I feel in my heart for the Stecker family hearing this crap as this and I feel that the Ms. Supreme court will throw it out and if it goes to Gov. Bryant he want stop the execution as well!!!!! This is where you think the court system in Ms. needs it like Texas huh’??!!

  • Anonymous

    Utah’s firing squad seems more in line with reality.