Execution set for killer of Natchez student

Published 12:07 am Friday, April 26, 2013

JACKSON (AP) — The Mississippi Supreme Court has set a May 7 execution date for Willie Jerome Manning, who was convicted of killing two Mississippi State University students two decades ago.

The order was issued Thursday. It comes weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from Manning, who’s now 44 years old.

He 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.

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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.