"An eye for an eye makes everyone blind." Ghandi
2015, October 2nd
WRONGFUL CONVICTION DAY
Stand up for the Innocence, Remember Willie Jerome Manning
Nearly 2,5 years after the stay of his execution there is still no answer. Only babysteps. We only can wait and hope for the best.
Wrongful Conviction Day, which was first celebrated last year, will take place again on Friday, October 2nd. To mark the occasion, we are urging our supporters to help spread the word through their social media channels in hopes of making this an annual day to recognize and remember the many men and women who have been wrongly convicted.
Help The Innocence Project to make a lasting impact today by posting a photo that represents you standing up for innocence – take a selfie wearing an Innocence Project T-shirt, take a photo that represents what it means to lose your freedom for something you didn’t do, create a graphic about wrongful convictions using data from our website or share the story of one of the 330 DNA exonerees. Then post it to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using the hashtags #WrongfulConvictionDay and #StandUp4INNOCENCE. Be creative to help bring awareness to this important cause, and please urge your friends to learn more about the Innocence Project and their work to free to the innocent.
Willie's DNA profile requested
Today it is exactly two years – 730 long days - since a mandate from the Mississippi Supreme Court allowed Willie Manning to pursue his request for DNA testing and fingerprint comparison. For Willie the two years must have seemed interminable.
At long last, however, there are signs that the DNA testing may soon be complete. On July 23 there was authorization by the court for blood samples from the two victims to be sent to the Cellmark forensic lab where items from the crime scene are being analyzed. This was followed only 18 days later (on August 10) by further authorization, this time for a tissue sample from Willie to be sent to the lab,“so that Mr. Manning's DNA profile can be established and compared to any profiles obtained from the submitted evidence sources”.
A Buccal DNA Collector, used to collect cells from inside an individual’s cheek, has been delivered. Medical personnel of the Mississippi Department of Corrections at Parchman are to collect the sample, witnessed by Willie’s lawyer, and, if wished, by counsel for the State.
After over twenty years on death row, Willie must be struggling to comprehend that this is all real. There have been so many moments of hope followed by despair; so many long years of trauma, despondency and grief; such a deep sense of abandonment and separation from the world. After all this it must feel as if the prospect of exoneration will remain a perpetual illusion.
Our thoughts are with Willie as he undergoes the simple DNA collection process, attempting to take in the enormity of what is happening. And we trust that the analysis and comparison process will be quick, so that Willie will finally have the certainty that he needs and deserves.
(Post from the site Justice4Willie)
U.S. Supreme Court: Midazolam for lethal injection is legal
high court ruled in a 5-4 decision that states have the right to use
the drug midazolam in executions.
group of Oklahoma death-row inmates have challenged the state's use
of midazolam, arguing that it cannot reliably render an inmate
response to the cruel death of Clayton D. Lockett (2014, Oklahoma).
More than an hour after the start, they aborted the execution and
Clayton died of a massive heart attack.
case prompted Oklahoma to change its execution protocol; it now uses
a larger dose of midazolam.
court ruled Monday June 29 2015 that the death row inmates failed to
establish that the use of midazolam violates the Eighth Amendment's
ban on cruel and unusual punishment. And also the
prisoners failed to identify a known and available alternative method
of execution that entails a lesser risk of pain.
four liberal justices dissented. Justice
Sonia Sotomayor, in her dissent, criticized the court's majority
opinion, saying it "leaves petitioners exposed to what may well
be the chemical equivalent of being burned at the stake."
She also stated it's absurd that inmates are criticized for failing
to come up with a good execution method.
What about Mississippi?
state of Mississippi is using a single-drug method, but the MacArthur
Justice Center in New Orleans has a federal lawsuit on behalf of some
Mississippi death row inmates over the state's three-drug protocol in
are studying the Court's opinion, but unlike the Oklahoma case, in
Mississippi, the state has sought to execute prisoners using a drug
that is made from unknown and unregulated substances, which creates a
much greater risk of torture than Midazolam" said
Jim Craig, co-director of the MacArthur Justice Center. "The
Mississippi case is also different from the case the Supreme Court
decided because Mississippi prisoners challenge the continued use of
a three-drug protocol when there is a feasible alternative: the use
of one anesthetic in a massive dose, which many other states have
been using. There is simply no excuse for Mississippi continuing to
using secret, unregulated drugs and it violates the Constitution."
May this year Nebraska voted against the death penalty as the 19th
state. The death penalty is still legal in 31 states, but just a few
states perform executions.
Another article about Willie, saying he may have been wrongly convicted and sentenced to death in both cases
How The FBI Majorly Screwed Up A Death Penalty Case And Atmitted It Just In Time
Read more: http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2015/05/06/3655660/one-inmate-four-death-penalty-sentences-exonerated-twice/
Today, May 7, it's exactly 2 years ago
that Willie got a stay of his execution, and DNA-tests were allowed. What happened in these two years? Do they just follow procedures or are they willing to see Willie as a human being who's for more than 20 years behind bars and all the time fighting to prove his innocence?
This is what Willie wrote about his situation (in 2009!):
is one of the most difficult things that any person could ever go
through in their life. I would have never thought that I could last
16 years in a small cell and still (somehow) be able to hold on to a
small bit of my sanity. I’m not a religious person but I think
that’s definitely a blessing. I think that one just have to
continue to find ways to keep their mind occupied and try in stay as
focus as one possibly can under circumstances. (20-06-2009)
Willie nr. 153 on list exonerations
The Death Penalty Information Center has added death-row inmate Willie Jerome Manning to its list of death-row exonerations. This was after the dismiss of all charges against him arising out of the 1993 murders of an elderly woman and her daughter. Willie Manning is the 153rd person exonerated from death row since 1973 and the 4th from Mississippi.
Willie remains on death row pending the results of DNA testing that could exonerate him in the murders of two Mississippi college students after the FBI admitted that its agents provided two different types of flawed forensic testimony in that case.
About this situation read "On Death Row For The Wrong Hair" of the Mississippi Innocence Project:
One down, one to go
Yesterday there was breaking news in the papers: Charges effectively dropped against Manning for '93 double homicide (The Dispatch, Starkville, Mississippi).
Willie was charged for two double murders. So now, one burden is from his shoulders.
In the other case an execution date was set (May 7, 2013) but 4 hours before the deadline Willie got a stay of execution and DNA-testing was allowed.
Willie is still on death row waiting for the DNA-testing. He is sure it will prove his innocence.
If proven innocent, Willie would be one of the 10,000 or more wrongful convictions per year.
I Can't Breathe
got a letter from Willie!
On the envelope he had written the message:
“I can’t breathe”. These were the last words of Eric Garner who
has been killed in July in a police chokehold. These words have
become a byword for lack of justice for African Americans killed
by police. In this way Willie highlights the link between police and
state killings of African Americans in the USA.
Last December Willie did'nt feel well, but now he's feeling much better and has more energy to write and do things
that are necessary for his case.
October 10, death penalty day
On October 10 2014, the 12th World Day against the Death Penalty is drawing attention to people with mental health problems who are at risk of a death sentence or execution. While opposing the death penalty absolutely, abolitionists are also committed to see existing international human rights standards implemented. Among these is the requirement that persons with mental illness or intellectual disabilities should not face the death penalty.
Today, let's also think about Willie. He is still waiting to prove his innocence through DNA testing.
Watch documentary on internet
In case you've missed Willie's documentary look at the internet
If you missed the Al Jazeera America documentary featuring Willie Manning (episode 3 of the series, The System), you now have a chance to watch parts of it on the recently created website, SAVE Innocents on death row in the USA. The excerpts appear on Willie’s new webpage on this site. As well as two video clips, there is an audio clip from the phone call that Willie made to the director, Joe Berlinger.
The page also includes a video from a news program, Democracy Now, broadcast shortly before Willie was scheduled to be executed last year. You can watch Vanessa Potkin from the Innocence Project explaining the legal background to Willie’s 1992 case; she notes that the Mississippi Attorney General, Jim Hood, made untrue statements at that time.
Documentary about Willie's cases
Al Jazeera America: program due June 1 2014
System is a new series by Joe Berlinger, broadcasted by Al Jazeera
America. Berlinger is exploring the controversial cases within the
criminal justice system.The third episode is about Flawed
Berlinger used Willie's case as an example.
episode airs on Sunday June 1 2014 @ 9p ET/6p PT (USA times)
This is what Willie says about the documentary:
Check Out Tha Realness Of What That Brother Has Gone Through
And Tell Me About Resilience
at the trailer (and see some glimpses of Willie): AJAM presents The System
Read a review of the series in The New York Times.
the case of the murders of the two students (1992) the Oktibbeha
Court ordered search for evidence, because of Willie’s request for
DNA and fingerprint testing that was permitted. Evidence was found in April. We're now
waiting for the testing.
the case of the murders of two elderly ladies (1993) Willie submitted
a brief to the Mississippi Surpreme Court on May 21 2014. He is
asking for oral argument in court, because the wrongful conviction in
this case is due to substantial allegations of State misconduct. F.i.
committing perjury at the trial by the crucial State witness, contradictory statements by another witness, they found a bloody shoeprint
of seize 8, while Willie's seize is 10½.
If you want to know more about it, see Justice for Willie Manning.
2014: good start of the yearWillie's request for DNA testing and fingerprint analysis was heard on January 31, 2014, at the Oktibbeha County Circuit Court. This request relates to the case of the two students (1992).
It seems likely that Willie’s request will be permitted.
Letter received from Willie
I received a letter from Willie recently (dated 19-09-2013), in which he apologizes for not writing letters for such a long time.
I think he's feeling better now and get a feeling that his old fighting spirit has come back.
He wrote me about the documentary Al Jazeera America has made of his cases. I don't know yet when they air it.
Here you can read more about the documentary.
Willie Manning filed a request
Willie filed a request for DNA and fingerprint testing in the Oktibbeha County Circuit Court on October 14.
Willie Manning granted DNA testing
Clarion Ledger, July 25, 2013
The Court has given Willie the chance to argue before a judge for DNA and fingerprint testing that he alleges will show him innocent in the deaths of two students.
The Mississippi Supreme Court gave Manning 60 days to file a brief in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court, where he was convicted, to support his motion for DNA testing and fingerprint analysis. The judges’ unanimous decision reverses their earlier 5:4 ruling against such testing.
Willie also asked for two other things: a hearing on the reliability of expert testimony, and to have his convictions set aside. The court has denied these requests.
More about flaws in US justice system: FBI forensic hair analysis errors casts doubt dozens death penalty convictions
Daily Mail, July 18, 2013
The FBI is reviewing 2,000 cases convicted on hair samples after it has emerged that there has been widespread errors in forensic testing and how the evidence was portrayed in court. As many as 27 prisoners facing the death penalty may have been wrongfully convicted along with potentially thousands of others across the country.
Attorney General Jim Hood was dismissive aboutWillie’s request for DNA testing of biological evidence. Hood referred to ‘dilatory defense tactics’: the defense ‘waits until the 11th hour to raise such claims’. This was a few days before Willie's execution date of May 7.
The 11th hour began in 2001 when the defense filed a motion in the state court to inspect the physical evidence. This motion was ultimately denied by the state supreme court in 2006, but then granted by the federal court. After inspecting the evidence, defense attorneys filed a motion with the federal court for DNA testing. Some rudimentary testing was done on some of the materials, but no DNA testing has been performed on any of the evidence. (www.justice4willie.com)
Flaws in US justice system
Video Inside story from Aljazeera English, published on June 11, 2013
Interview with Rob Mink, one of the two attorney's of Willie Manning, who's
talking about the FBI letters about their invalid testimonies.
And also an interesting discussion about the Death Penalty with a Law Professor from Florida (the state with the highest rate of exonerees), the director of the Death Penalty Information Centre and a constitutional lawyer who was a former US Associate Deputy Attorney General under Ronald Reagan.
June 10, 2013 The Baltimore SunAn article by former FBI director William S. Sessions about old cases like those involving John Huffington and Willie Manning.
FBI testimony in both cases provided key evidence that led to their convictions, and there were serious flaws in this evidence. If men and women such as Huffington and Manning still remain in prison - and in some cases on death row - it's intolerable, according to Sessions. His message is: "When evidence that is used to convict an individual is discovered to be unreliable, justice requires that we review that case, no matter how long ago the conviction occurred."
Read the full article.
Message from Willie Manning
May 29, 2013
"The court still has not made a decision so we can only hope that it will now make the right one."
This is what Willie wrote in his letter, and he continued: "As you already know, we still have some ways to go."
On my doormat: a letter from Willie, what a surprise!
He has to wait for a decision and in the meantime Willie has just been trying to relax and get his thoughts together. He said:"I was somehow able to stay focused and in good spirits throughout that whole ordeal. But as soon as it was over it seems like I was immediately overwhelmed by everything. The amount of support we got really blew my mind. I can still not wrap my mind around it."
Willie told me that all of his personal letters were destroyed when he had to prepare to go to Unit 17 (cell next to the execution room). I wonder what they have done with his other belongings ...
Willie's situation is still precarious. So we need people to support him.
Judge denies Willie Manning a new trial (2)
Judge Lee Howard of the Oktibbeha County Circuit has denied Willie Manning's request for a new trial.
In the ruling issued Tuesday May 21, Howard wrote: "The court finds that Lucious' (the State's key witness) testimony that he was threatened into testifying at the petitioner's trial and that Allgood knew his testimony to be false is unreliable and should be given no weight in the present proceedings."
Judge denies Willie Manning a new trial
May 21, 2013. A judge has denied Willie Jerome Manning’s request for a new trial in the 1993 slayings of a 90-year-old woman and her 60-year-old daughter in Starkville.
Oktibbeha County Circuit Judge Lee Howard handed down his ruling Tuesday, and Manning’s attorneys can appeal it. Manning's attorney, Robert Mink, calls the ruling "astonishing" and says he will appeal.
Willie's 2nd case awaiting judge's decision
Associated Press, May 17, 2013
Willie Manning won a stay of execution in one capital case. Now he waits to hear if an Oktibbeha County judge agrees he was denied a fair trial in 1996, when he was sentenced to death for the slayings of two women.
The judge has promised a decision by the end of June 2013. The Mississippi Supreme Court will have the final say on whether the death sentence will stand.The execution overshadowed the pending case in Oktibbeha County.
Willie Manning may well represent victims of over zealous prosecution An alarming statement in the article indicates that the problem of false convictions is far greater than admitted by those in the criminal justice system and the number of false convictions per year is much larger than the 10,000 per year estimate.
May 9, 2013 An article of Daniel S. Medwed (Boston University Law Review) examines the question of why prosecutors may turn a blind eye to post-conviction allegations of innocence, like in the cases of Willie Manning. It concludes that there are certain institutional and political barriers that deter district attorneys’ offices from recognizing potentially valid innocence claims.
Read the full article.
No Matter How Big the Lie
John F Kennedy said “No matter how big the lie; repeat it often enough and the masses will regard it as the truth.” This is a technique that was also familiar to Adolph Hitler. What happened in Willie Manning's case?
In the past weeks the first reports in the local press of Willie's petition did not even mention his request for DNA testing. Attorney General Jim Hood was talking about 'this flurry of last minutes filings' and 'types of tactics that delay the process', when he mentioned Willie's petition. And: "He is a violent person who committed these heinous murders." But even worse was the prosecutor who vilified Willie as Beelzebub, the Devil’s lieutenant on local television, after a court reversed its decision in 2006.
On the other hand analysis has probed more deeply, shown in articles from e.g. The Innocence Project, the ACLU's blog, The Atlantic.
When the spotlight falls again on Willie’s case, perhaps we should pay closer attention to Willie’s opponents and what they are saying. Are they repeating over and over their statements about Willie’s ‘frivolous request’ and ‘eleventh hour demands’? read more
Judges Engineered Willie's Predicament
Judges in Willie Manning’s case engineered their DNA test refusal by considering only damning prosecution evidence, departing from practice in other cases. Prosecution evidence is by its nature unlikely to be anything other than damning: in any legal case an assessment of guilt will be exaggerated if based on prosecution evidence alone, without the leavening of the counter arguments of the defense. In Willie’s case the contrast between the two methods of review is stark: ..... read more from the justice4willie website
FBI found 2nd error in Willie's case
May 7 - Willie Manning's attorney says in a court filing that the FBI has identified another error in the case.
Murder in Mississippi
If the authorities in Mississippi have their way tomorrow, Willie Manning will be executed. David Protess, President of the Chicago Innocence Project tells all about DA Forrest Allgood (what's in a name). His name is also linked with Kennedy Brewer (exonerated) and Lavon Brooks (exonerated).
Suit filed by Innocence project & Willie's brother
The lawsuit was filed to preserve evidence in the case for additional testing, whether Willie is put to death or not.
The attorney who represents the Mississippi Innocence Project said the group wants to prevent the destruction of evidence in the case and preserve the evidence for DNA and other testing.
Think the Unthinkable?
Governor Bryant is faced with an important and difficult decision: by 6 p.m. on May 7 he must decide whether to halt Willie’s execution or allow him to die. But the USA also has an important and difficult decision to make: whether to trust without question the judgment of the 5 judges who have condemned Willie to death; or whether to think the unthinkable and challenge the methods used by these judges in reaching their decision.
Convicted Murderer Fights Upcoming Execution
May 4, 2013 NEWS CHANNEL 12/WJTV
Article including video.
judges at Supreme Court
With a 5
to 4 decision of the Supreme Court DNA testing was denied and execution was
set. Of the 4 judges who sought to uphold Willie’s request,
2 submitted separate written statements. It is clear that, in contrast to the
majority group, they did use the usual method of reviewing court evidence: they
examined evidence presented by the defense as well as the prosecution.
Justice King notes “the
prosecution’s emphasis on the importance of (the hair) evidence” and is
critical of the way in which the prosecutor presented this:
“The sole purpose of the prosecution’s emphasis on the fact that the hair
samples found in Miller’s car were of African-American origin appears to have
been to lead the jury to construct a faulty syllogism. That syllogism would be as
follows: First, that hairs from an African American were found in Miller’s car.
Second, Manning is an African American. Third, because Manning is an African
American he must have killed Miller and Steckler.”
This text is
the lastest post on the website Justice4Willie.
the full text, scrolling down at the homepage.
Jim Hood: DNA test wouldn't exonerate Manning
Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood says a new round of DNA testing on evidence collected against death row inmate Willie Jerome Manning would not exonerate him in the 1992 deaths of two students. Manning is scheduled to die by lethal injection at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Hood mentioned that if the defense waits until the 11th hour to raise DNA claims, which could not possibly exonerate their client, courts hate to be subjected to these types of tactics that delay the process.
Attorney to Willie, David Voisin said Hood is missing the point on the FBI's offer to conduct new testing."The first DNA testing was done at the time of the trial. We have been seeking access to this evidence to see if it was possibly testable since 2001. There's nothing 11th hour about it," Voisin said.
The Guardian: errors in case of Willie Manning
At May 4 The Guardian stated that the Justice Department suggests evidence used to help convict Manning was flawed as officials reportedly agree to further tests.
The Clarion-Ledger newspaper in Jackson, Mississippi has reported that a lawyer for the Justice Department has now written to a local district attorney, Manning's lawyer and the Innocence Project advocacy group raising its concerns about the evidence.
The letter reportedly states that a review of the original tests had been carried out. "Through this review, we have determined that testimony containing erroneous statements regarding microscopic hair comparison analysis was used in this case," the letter said.
Read the full article.
Even Washington Post mentions mistake
On May 4 The Washington Post wrote that the Justice Department has acknowledged flaws in forensic testimony by the FBI that helped convict a man in the 1992 slayings of two Mississippi State University students, and federal officials have now offered to retest the DNA in the case.
The extraordinary admission and offer come just days before the man is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Tuesday and present a quandary for Mississippi officials about whether to stop the execution of Willie Jerome Manning, 44.
Read the full article.
Mistake admitted by Justice Dept. & FBI
In a rare move, the Department of Justice and the FBI saying laboratory reports on hair analysis and testimony by FBI examiners were erroneous in the capital murder case in the '90s that sent Willie Jerome Manning to death row.
Justice Dept. Attorney John Crabbs Jr. has sent a letter, dated May 2, to Oktibbeha County District Attorney Forest Allgood and copying it to Manning's attorney David Voisin and the Innocence Project, informing of the mistake.
The FBI has agreed to do further testing of evidence in the case.
Former state Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz said: "Let's make sure before we execute possibly an innocent man.I hope the governor and the state Supreme Court don't a mistake like I did (in the case of Kennedy Brewer who was exonerated in 2008 after 15 years on death row MS) to keep an innocent man in prison."
On May 3, former and others asked Gov. Phil Bryant and the Mississippi Supreme Court to allow the FBI laboratory to do DNA and other testing of evidence to prove whether or not Willie Jerome Manning committed the murders of two Mississippi State University students in 1992.
Read the full article.
Former inmate ask DNA testing for Willie
Kennedy Brewer, former death row inmate in MS has asked the governor to delay the execution of Willie Jerome Manning until DNA evidence is tested.
“I am living proof that the courts sometimes just get the wrong man,” said Kennedy Brewer, who was wrongly convicted.
Miss.Educating for Smart Justice (MESJ) will hold press conference
At May 3, 2 p.m. there will be a press conference to educate the media and Mississippians on the injustices of Willie Manning’s case.
Willie Manning is scheduled to be executed by the State on Tuesday, May 7, without allowing DNA testing or fingerprint matching of evidence that might well prove his innocence. At the time of the prosecution in 1994, the local NAACP led mass protests of the racially biased judicial proceedings that convicted Mr. Manning.
Mississippians need to know about the serious problems for this case that will be headline news in less than a month.
... Given today’s technology and social advancement, there is no reason a man such as Willie Manning should be executed in light of the potential for his innocence. DNA testing will prove, once-and-for-all, whether Willie committed the murders for which he was blamed. Fingerprint matching may yield another suspect in this case. Neither of these has been offered to Willie. Further, racial bias played a large factor in jury selection. Rather than being tried by a jury of his peers, the Court allowed prosecution to strike potential African-American jurors for nothing other than what seems to be race motivation. The time to speak for Willie is now. Willie’s case is tied to your right to ensure a fair and impartial justice system is used in Mississippi and the United States at large.
The press conference will be hold in MS Capitol Building / 2nd Floor Rotunda.
Speakers will be : David Voisin, attorney for Willie Manning, Wayne McDaniels, NAACP MS State Conference 6th Vice President and Bishop William Houck, retired bishop, Catholic Diocese of Jackson.
Innocence Project fights for Willie
On March 13, 2013 Press Agency 'The Associated Press' published about Willie's appeal before the US Supreme Court.
The Innocence Project started a petition and now added a video at You Tube.
What is Mississippi afraid of?
Amid increasing media support for Willie, two articles have raised the peculiarity of the State’s reluctance to embrace DNA testing for Willie.
Andrew Cohen, an award winning USA legal analyst and commentator, has written a lengthy article which concludes:
“It is hard to understand what Mississippi is afraid of. Either the testing will incriminate Manning, or it could help break the case in a new direction. Either way we'll know more than we do now about what happened that awful night in 1992. If Manning is executed next week without those results, if his sorry story ends here without us knowing whether that scientific evidence incriminates or exonerates him, his ghost won't just haunt Mississippi forever. It will surely impact the national debate over how much we are willing to know about the truth of these cases, and about the men we are condemning to death." (see full article below)
From a new post on www.justice4willie.com.
A Ghost of Mississippi: The Willie Manning Capital Case
On the eve of his execution, state officials say there should be no DNA or fingerprint testing for a condemned man who maintains his innocence.
The relevant question is:"Exactly how sure are you that you got the right guy?" The answer to that question, in the case of Willie Manning surely is: "Not very sure." There is no physical evidence linking Manning to the 1992 murders of two Mississippi State University students.
The Manning case deserves a closer look before it is too late because state officials failed to use modern techniques to test DNA and fingerprints from the crime scene.
Supreme Court denies petitionMay 2, 2013 The Mississippi Supreme Court has refused to stop the execution of death row inmate Willie Jerome Manning. The court made no other comment.
The Supreme Court split along the same lines when it denied Manning's post-conviction appeal a week ago. The majority said there was substantial evidence to convict Manning. The four justices who sided with Manning said the DNA testing, if favorable to the inmate, would raise questions about his guilt.
Read the full article.
Death row inmate deserves DNA testing
Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld are co-founders and co-directors of the Innocence Project, a national litigation and public policy organization dedicated to exonerating wrongly convicted individuals through DNA testing and reforming the criminal justice system to prevent injustice.
On May 1 they were the guest columnists of The Clarion Ledger. In their article they say Willie deserves DNA testing before his execution on May 7. They urge Governor Phil Bryant to issue a stay so the testing can be done.
They mention that 306 people have been exonerated by DNA evidence (including eighteen people who served time on death row like Willie) since it became available two decades ago.
Innocence Project starts petition
The Innocence Project is a national litigation and public policy organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted people through DNA testing and reforming the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice.
They say: "Incredibly, the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that there is “overwhelming evidence of guilt,” so no DNA testing is needed. His execution has been set for May 7th. Eighteen men have been exonerated by DNA testing after being sentenced to death, including Kennedy Brewer of Mississippi. We are asking the Governor to stay the execution and order the DNA testing that will definitively prove Willie Manning’s guilt or innocence.
Join us in calling on Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant to stay Willie’s execution and order DNA testing!"
Two organizations are supporting Willie
On April 30, 2013 the Associated Press published that two groups support Willie's effort to stop execution.
The two organizations, The Mississippi Innocence Project and The Innocence Project New Orleans help exonerate inmates using DNA evidence. They have asked the state Supreme Court to let them file briefs to support Willie's effort to avoid execution.
Willie's attorneys asked the court Tuesday to stop the execution. They also said they will file a clemency petition with Gov. Phil Bryant.
On April 28, 2013 the Associated Press published that Willie has asked the Supreme Court to look again at his case.
In a request Willie's attorney said that the Mississippi Supreme Court overlooked or misunderstood some matters raised in Willie's motion for DNA testing.
The Supreme Court rejected Willie's motion on April 25. Four justices (out of nine) sided with Willie.
Shocking decision: execution on May 7
A shocking decision has resulted in Willie not being allowed to present his arguments. The Mississippi Supreme Court has set a execution date for Willie at May 7, 2013 at 6 p.m..
Willie has asked for DNA testing, and stated none of the fingerprints, hair, blood or fibers found at the murder scene corresponded with his own; he made these points in a petition opposing the setting of an execution date.
But ... he is not allowed to present these arguments. Incredibly, the very missed deadline that is preventing Willie from presenting his arguments, was in fact not Willie’s fault, but was brought about by the State.
Willie opposes setting execution date
On April 3, 2013 'The Associated Press' published that Willie Jerome Manning has told the Mississippi Supreme Court that he has more arguments to make, meaning now is not the time to be setting an execution date sought by the attorney general's office.
Willie opposes the setting of a date for his execution, because he wants to raise important issues:
- biological evidence should be DNA tested, using methods not available at the time of the murders (no physical evidence linked Willie to the murder scene: none of the fingerprints, hair, blood or fibers found at the scene corresponded with Willie’s).
- a jailhouse informant has recanted his testimony.
- the State failed to disclose exculpatory evidence about three of its witnesses (including evidence about the witnesses’ incentives to testify in favor of the State).
- there is a possible pattern of reliance on testimony procured unfairly.
- black people were improperly kept off his trial jury.
- his trial attorneys were ineffective at the penalty phase.
Execution will not help my family
Suzanne Steckler, the sister of one of the victims in Willie’s case has reportedly stated that his execution will not help her family:
“This is just my personal opinion, and I won’t speak for the rest of the family, but it doesn’t bring our brother back,” she said. “Because of that, we don’t wish that ill will on anyone else’s family. I don’t believe (Manning’s) death helps us in one way or another” (as reported on March 26 by the Natchez Democrat newspaper here).
Mr. 'Babaloulou' made a comment on this article. Although he had no objections against the death penalty on its face, he decided that "the death penalty should not be part of our system of law." Why did he decided this? Read the full commentManning denied appeal by USSC
On March 25, 2013 'The Associated Press' published that the US Supreme Court denied Willie Manning's appeal without comment.
Attorney General Jim Hood asked the Mississippi Supreme Court to set an execution date for Manning for April 24.
It is strange to see that in one case Willie is allowed to query whether prosecutors withheld evidence and gave false evidence (see below: post-conviction ruling pending). But, in the other case, we are not allowed to know WHAT he wants to query, because of a missed deadline. Something is not right.
Appeal before US Supreme Court
The Supreme Court will decide about Willie's appeal on March 22, 2013. If they deny his request, the attorney general will ask for an execution date.
Willie has argued that defense attorneys should have done a better job and that black residents were inappropriately excluded from his jury.
Miss. death row inmate Willie Manning's
post-conviction ruling pending
On March 13, 2013 Press Agency 'The Associated Press' published about the post-conviction petition filed by Willie Jerome Manning.
The Mississippi Supreme Court asked an Oktibbeha County judge to explain why no ruling has been issued. In this case the things that must be investigated are:
- whether prosecutors withheld certain evidence
- whether prosecutors presented false evidence
- and whether Manning was denied effective assistance of counsel both at trial and on appeal