Appeal denied for convict in Steckler murder

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 31, 2009

NATCHEZ — A federal judge has denied the most recent appeal filed by the man convicted and sentenced to death for the 1992 murder of Natchez native Jon Steckler.

Willie Jerome Manning can still file another appeal on claims of ineffective counsel and whether blacks were inappropriately excluded from his Oktibbeha County jury. Manning is black.

Steckler was a sophomore at Mississippi State University when he was killed. He and his date Tiffany Miller were both shot in the head on an Oktibbeha County road on Dec. 11, 1992.

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Manning wasn’t immediately arrested, but was later charged with kidnapping, robbery and two counts of murder.

He was convicted in 1994 and sentenced to death. An execution date was set for that year but later delayed due to appeals and a request for a new trial.

The request for a new trial was denied and up to this point all appeals have been denied.

U.S. District Judge Allen Pepper threw out Manning’s latest appeal Tuesday.

Steckler, the son of Dale Steckler and the late Dr. David Steckler, was 19 when he was killed.