At last Willie Manning has only one death penalty case to fight!
On Monday, April 20 2015, a Mississippi judge signed an Order of Nolle Prosequi (not wanting to prosecute) for Willie’s Brookville Garden case involving the murders of two elderly women, Emmoline Jimmerson and Alberta Jordan. The Oktibbeha County Court order effectively closes this case.
Willie has to remain incarcerated while his request for DNA testing and fingerprint comparison in his other case is processed; he still has a conviction and death sentence for that case. Nonetheless, his overriding desire to clear his name is now halfway to being realized.
The state’s key witness in the Brookville Garden case, Kevin Lucious, recanted his trial testimony over 13 years ago, through an affidavit given on January 10, 2002. His recantation assigned no blame to Willie, but did cast doubt on the integrity of Sheriff Dolph Bryan, Police Captain Lindley, and District Attorney Forrest Allgood. The legal process is such that it is only now that the affidavit has proved crucial in helping Willie.
Points made by Lucious in that affidavit are listed in Monday’s Nolle Prosequi order:
- His motivation for committing perjury was fear of being charged with the two murders.
- Sheriff Bryan and Captain Lindley prepared a false statement for him.
- He signed the statement only because District Attorney Forrest Allgood had told him he would not be charged with capital murder if he cooperated.
- He did not see Willie enter the victims’ apartment near the time of the murders.
- He never told Sheriff Bryan that he had seen Willie going into the apartment.
- He told Sheriff Bryan that Tyrone Smith had confessed to the murders and that Smith had disposed of the murder weapon near the crime scene.
- Willie never told him “he would not have killed the old ladies if he had known the [sic] didn’t have money”.
- Willie never told him “he went into the ladies’ apartment or did anything to them”.
The court concludes,
“…Due to the fact that a material witness for the state has now changed his testimony in this case on a number of material issues, the State is unable to meet its burden of proof”.
Better late than never.