May 07 2013

SunHerald: Miss. Supreme Court blocks Tuesday execution

PARCHMAN, Miss. — The Mississippi Supreme Court has indefinitely delayed Tuesday evening’s planned execution of Willie Jerome Manning, who was scheduled to die for the 1992 slayings of two college students.

Manning was originally scheduled to receive a lethal injection at 6 p.m. CDT at the state prison in Parchman. But as the execution time loomed, the high court said the execution should be delayed until it rules further on the case.

The bodies of Mississippi State University students Jon Steckler and Tiffany Miller were found in rural Oktibbeha County in December 1992. They had been shot to death. Manning was convicted in 1994. Prosecutors said Manning was arrested after he tried to sell some items belonging to the victims.

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 said in filings with 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.

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