A Crime of Passion

The Mississippi Supreme Court has asked Willie Manning’s lawyer and the Attorney General’s office for “an update on the DNA screening and testing results in [Willie’s remaining] case”. So far this has not been forthcoming.

However, the authors of The Truth Machine* urge us to be cautious about DNA results, and to consider them in relation to what they call “the possibilities that reside in stories of [the] crime”. One of the “stories” suggests that the 1992 murder of two Mississippi University students was a crime of passion, not a robbery. Ex-policeman Vincent Hill, explains this theory as he talks to Willie’s childhood friend, David Skato.**

VH: I’ve worked a few stolen car reports in my police day, and heard of carjackings, but it never really ends up to be – you know – if it’s a robbery, it is what it is. It doesn’t necessarily end up to be, “I’m going to drive you out in the woods and I’m going to shoot the boyfriend execution style and I’m going to shoot the female twice in the face at close range.” That sounds more of a personal crime, you know, in my opinion, you know, it takes a special person to actually look at someone, shoot them twice in the face and not have known them…
VH: …I think if it was a robbery it would have happened right there, and there would have been no ride into the woods, and “I’m going to shoot the boyfriend in the back of the head, execution style, and then I’m going to run him over because I hate him so much, even though I’ve just met him 10 minutes ago, and then I’m going to shoot the girl in the face”.
DS: And even the court docket says “run over at a slow speed”, you know. What is that? I mean – I don’t want to put it out there – but that’s a crime of passion. Something else is going on.
VH:  No, I agree one hundred per cent. And you’re right, cos if it’s a robbery he’s trying to get out of there as fast as possible, you know, he’s not going to have time to, “Let me run over them really, really slow, just so  I can make sure that they’re dead,” you know – it just… No, it doesn’t make sense. You’re absolutely right. I do believe that was a crime of passion. Unfortunately, I’ve said it, and I’ll say it again – there’s someone out there that has gotten away with this murder, because just looking at the wounds, especially to Tiffany, they were personal.*** They were personal, they were personal, you know. That does not happen in a robbery. It just doesn’t happen.

This argument sounds compelling. We trust it will be heeded.

**Michael Lynch, Simon A. Cole, Ruth McNally and Kathleen Jordan   The Truth Machine: the Contentious History of DNA Fingerprinting (The University of Chicago Press, 2008), p. 346
**On the day before Willie’s scheduled execution in May 2013, Blog Talk Radio’s “The Other Side of Justice” featured a program about Willie, Dead Man Walking. The Willie Manning CaseIn it Vincent Hill, a private investigator and ex-policeman, interviewed Willie’s childhood friend, David Skato, about the prosecution’s version of what happened when the two students were murdered. The interview does not start properly until 4 minutes into the recording. Timings on the audio are indicated in the text.
***Sheriff Dolph Bryan testified, “[ t ]here’s no doubt in my mind that the man that killed Tiffany Miller tried to rape her.”. (See Willie Jerome Manning’s Petition for Post-Conviction Relief, filed in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court on October 8 2001, page 13, ¶ 37.) 
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