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Willie Manning Post-Conviction Petition

Fri, 11/10/2023 - 00:00


November 10, 2023


JACKSON, Miss. – Willie Jerome Manning was convicted and sentenced to death in 1994 for the murders of two Mississippi State students. On September 29, 2023, counsel for Manning petitioned for post-conviction relief based on newly discovered evidence and scientific developments undermining Manning’s conviction. The State of Mississippi has not responded to that petition or even considered the evidence. The State instead is steamrolling toward execution even though there is compelling evidence that Manning may, in fact, be innocent.

Executions are not the place to act first and ask questions later. Manning has always maintained his innocence, and the State’s case against him was weak from the start—with no DNA or other physical evidence linking him to the murders. The limited evidence against Manning no longer withstands scrutiny. Scientific developments have undermined the reliability of the hair analysis and firearms identification used at Manning’s trial—with the government admitting in letters to the parties that its forensic evidence was false. Also, key witnesses have now admitted that their testimony was fabricated in exchange for favorable treatment from the State, including money and sentence reductions.

The brutal murders of these two young people were tragic. Their families deserve justice. However, a death sentence based on false forensic evidence and fabricated witness testimony is not justice.

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