On October 14 Willie Manning took the next step in his quest for justice by filing his request for DNA and fingerprint testing in the Oktibbeha County Circuit Court.
On the same day the Mississippi newspaper, the Clarion Ledger, published an article about the former Mississippi State Penitentiary warden, Donald Cabana, who died the previous week. Cabana was known nationally for his opposition to the death penalty, developed following his responsibility in carrying out executions:
“There is nothing commonplace about walking a healthy young man to a room, strapping him into a chair, and coldly, methodically killing him.” (from Cabana’s memoir, ‘Death at Midnight: The Confession of an Executioner’)
In 1995, Cabana described the process by which he became convinced of the abhorrence of the death penalty, in part because of the danger of executing an innocent person:
“…you — and when I say you, I mean, generically, Americans — do not have the right to ask me, or any prison official, to bloody my hands with an innocent person’s blood…
If we execute an innocent person by mistake, what is it we’re supposed to say, ‘Oops?’”
As friends and abolitionists mourn Cabana, his question continues to resonate. Let us hope that the circuit court takes note of it when reaching its decision in the case of Willie Manning.