WJTV News Channel 12 - Mississippi Death Row Inmate Wants Execution Halted

Stay of Execution Granted for Death Row Inmate

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     A stay of execution has been granted by the Mississippi Supreme Court for Willie Jerome Manning.  This happens the same day as the supposed execution -- just hours before he was to die by lethal injection.

     Attorneys for Manning filed suit yesterday in the State Supreme Court asking for a stay.  The reply came after 1:30 on Tuesday.

     He was convicted of killing two Mississippi State University students, Tiffany Miller and John Steckler, in Oktibbeha County, nearly 20 years ago.

     Manning's legal team believes Manning is innocent and they want DNA testing of hair fragments taken from the crime scene.

     At issue is recent letter the FBI sent to the prosecutor in the case. That letter calls into question whether Manning is guilty.

     The agency now admits that testimony from an FBI expert at the 1994 trial, that a hair sample came from an African American person, "exceeded the limits of science and was, therefore, invalid."

     "New evidence has come to light that demands the reversal of Manning's convictions," wrote lawyers for Manning.

     In a response filed with the high court by Attorney General Jim Hood, his office said the FBI letter does not show the "falsity of the testimony," in the trial.

     Former death row inmate, Kennedy Brewer, who was exonerated for a murder he didn't commit, wrote Gov. Phil Bryant a letter, asking for an execution delay.

     "I am writing you to ask you please don't let the state of Mississippi kill Willie Manning until it does DNA testing to see if he's innocent, just like I was, writes Brewer in the letter to the governor.        

Official Stay of Execution Document

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