NATCHEZ, Miss. (WJTV) – A death row inmate convicted of killing two Mississippi State University (MSU) students in 1994 was denied an appeal in the Mississippi Supreme Court.
The Natchez Democrat reported Willie Jerome “Fly” Manning received two death sentences in 1994 for capital murder charges. He was convicted of killing MSU students Jon Steckler, 19, of Natchez, and Tiffany Miller, 22, of Madison.
Manning was originally arrested for reportedly trying to sell items that belonged to the victims. He claims the items he tried to sell were stolen by someone else.
The newspaper reported he wanted a retest of DNA evidence used in the case using technology that wasn’t available during his trial. This is because in May 2013, days before his scheduled execution, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Justice Department acknowledged flawed DNA evidence was used to convict him.
Manning was previously exonerated of another double murder conviction. He was previously convicted of killing Emmoline Jimmerson, 90, and her daughter Albertha Jordan, 60, during an attempted robbery at their apartment in Starkville just weeks after the murders of the MSU students. The guilty verdict was overturned when it was discovered that a key witness in the trial had lied.
The newspaper reported Manning spent six years having DNA evidence tested and expert fingerprint analysis performed. The results were inconclusive, but Manning maintained his innocence.
A circuit court denied his request to have DNA evidence used in the trial transferred to another facility. He appealed that decision in the Mississippi Supreme Court. According to the newspaper, the higher court denied that appeal on Thursday.