On March 2, Willie Manning submitted a post-hearing memorandum challenging the constitutional validity of his convictions for the murders of two elderly ladies at their apartment in Brooksville Garden in 1993. This is the second of Willie’s two cases, and involved the same prosecutor as in his first case (Forrest Allgood).
As mentioned in the previous post, the primary issues to be pursued in this case are:
- the State failed to disclose evidence favorable to Willie (it did not disclose crime lab notes about the shoe size of a print found at the murder scene, which was several sizes smaller than Willie’s shoes).
- the State presented false evidence (it did not disclose law enforcement notes showing that the key witness’s essential testimony was false, as the apartment where he claimed to have lived, and from where he stated that he observed Willie, was empty at the time).
On Tuesday May 21, Oktibbeha County Circuit Judge Lee Howard denied Willie’s post-hearing memorandum in this case (see Associated Press report carried by many newspapers e.g. Jackson Free Press).
The report states,
‘In the ruling issued Tuesday, Howard wrote: “The court finds that Lucious’ 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.”’
Willie’s attorney, Robert Mink, said he will appeal, as the prosecutors’ case against Manning was based on the testimony of an alleged eyewitness who later recanted. Mink is quoted as saying, “This is just astonishing”.
Astonishing it certainly is; but, sadly, not unusual. Unfortunately for Willie Manning, astonishing and shocking rulings seem to have become the norm.