Facing Execution

Exactly two years ago today, on May 7 2013, Willie Manning faced execution. His younger brother, Marshon, must be remembering the turmoil of that day. Interviewed by Joe Berlinger for an Al Jazeera America program in 2014, he describes the agony of waiting for Willie to be taken from him:

“Oh. (His head sinks to his shoulder.) [That was] one of the hardest days of my life, you know. I was making that the execution was going to go through. It was, like, you got three hours (he laughs nervously), you know. And I was crying, and he told me not to cry. And he, like, ‘Man, don’t do that.’ He said, ‘Look at me,’ and he put his face in front of me, to the glass, and he said, ‘Look at me.’ He said, ‘You see any tears in my eyes? Don’t do that, man. You’re going to make me weep – don’t do that’.”

The experience left Willie struggling mentally, as he explained in letters soon afterwards:

Going through that whole process had left me in a way mentally that I could not explain. I still can’t. I knew that I was blessed and I was appreciative of everyone in my life, as well as those who came into it and showed their support. But I just did not have words, and I really needed some time to myself in hopes that I could get back to myself…

“That was truly an experience and I actually felt I had gone through it pretty well until I was on the other side of it. Then everything felt outta body…

“Now if we can just get these DNA tests done so that I can prove that I had absolutely nothing to do with harming anyone and come home to my family and friends – that would be the real blessin’!”

Willie’s wish has not been granted yet, though by May 15, 2015, he should know from the results of preliminary DNA testing whether further tests are viable. He must wait even longer for fingerprint analysis because of the state’s unexplained objection  to the fingerprint experts proposed by Willie’s lawyers: each of their lengthy and researched proposals has been dismissed with a curt sentence, viz.: “We object to Mr Moses” and “We oppose the use of Stoney.”

This is not good enough: Willie has had too much suffering already. The Oktibbeha County Circuit Court, to which Willie’s lawyers have turned in exasperation, should authorize the shipment of fingerprint evidence to one of the experts. Justice should finally be done.

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