Developments in both cases

Over the holiday period Willie Jerome Manning will be able to consider recent developments in both his cases.

Regarding the case of the two students, on December 16 the State filed its response to Willie’s request for DNA testing and fingerprint comparison. The State indicated to the Oktibbeha County Circuit Court that it is unlikely to object to Willie’s request. It also asked the Court to allow an interim hearing to establish exactly which items should be DNA tested, and which fingerprints should be analyzed. Willie’s request and the State’s response will be considered at the Court’s convenience.

Regarding the case of the two elderly ladies, Willie filed an appeal in the Mississippi Supreme Court on December 12. He refers to the facts established in post-conviction proceedings, namely:

  • Unimpeachable records, including undisclosed police notes, show that the main (and crucial) State witness lied about living in an apartment across the street from the victims: this apartment was in fact unoccupied at the time of the murders. (In statements taken in 1994 this witness said nothing about seeing Willie enter the victims’ apartment; it was not until 1996 that he testified against Willie.)
  • The State did not disclose the records of the police notes that showed this witness was lying.
  • This witness also lied about hearing Willie “confess” to the murders.
  • This witness’s false trial testimony was given as a result of pressure brought by the State.
  • The State failed to disclose exculpatory evidence about a shoeprint found at the crime scene (the shoe size of this print was size 8, whereas Willie’s shoe size is about size 11).
  • Another witness further undermined his own credibility by making statements that were contradictory.

As an additional fact, Willie states that his trial attorneys failed to investigate and impeach the witnesses mentioned above, failed to investigate the shoeprint found at the murder scene, and failed to investigate other suspects. He also argues that at the evidentiary hearing the Oktibbeha County Circuit Court erred in refusing to authorize for presentation all the documents that he had requested.

Record Excerpts from this case, including the Police Department notes and the Mississippi Crime Laboratory footwear case notes, are available at the State of Mississippi Judiciary website.

The Christmas period will not be marked by festivity for Willie; but he will be cheered by the knowledge that his friends in Mississippi and all over the world will be thinking of him. We wish Willie a peaceful Christmas and New Year.

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