Mississippi high court blocks man's execution
PARCHMAN, Miss. — The Mississippi Supreme Court has indefinitely delayed Tuesday's scheduled execution of Willie Jerome Manning amid questions involving evidence in the case — intervening hours before he was set to die for the slayings of two college students.
Manning, who had challenged errors involving evidence analysis, was originally set to receive a lethal injection in the state prison in Parchman. But with mere hours remaining, the high court blocked the execution until it rules further.
Manning was convicted in 1994 in the shooting deaths of two Mississippi State University students, Jon Steckler and Tiffany Miller. Their bodies were found in a rural area in December 1992.
The FBI has said in recent days that there were errors in agents' testimony about ballistics tests and hair analysis in the case.
Manning's lawyers had argued in recent filings before the Mississippi Supreme Court that the execution should be blocked based on the Justice Department's disclosures about testimony that it says exceeded the limits of science.
The court ruled 8-1 for a stay. The court had previously split 5-4 in decisions in the case.
An FBI letter, sent late Monday, said there was incorrect testimony related to tests on bullets found in a tree by Manning's house that were compared with bullets found in the victims.
That kind of examination “is not based on absolute certainty but rather a reasonable degree of scientific certainty,” the letter said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Georgia judge says she did not involuntarily commit Louisiana movie theater gunman Houser
- House, Senate clash over highway funds before Friday deadline
- Republicans seek firing of IRS chief in feud over missing emails
- National Security Agency to stop looking at old telephone records
- Nuke arms program gets 4-star leadership
- Police try to see if man killed by escort was linked to crimes against women
- Outside attorneys to help investigate Bland death in Texas jail
- El Niño helps, harms economies
- Lawyers: Immigrant mothers coerced to wear ankle monitors in Texas
- Huckabee ‘door of the oven’ comment brings backlash
- Fiat Chrysler to buy back more than 500K Ram pickups