February has brought unusually severe winter storms to Mississippi, with snow, freezing temperatures and power failures. Conditions on death row at Mississippi State Penitentiary have been harsh: both power and heating have been off. After a couple of freezing cold days, the malfunctioning boiler has been mended; inmates are warm again, but still without power.
In these conditions it is harder than ever for Willie Manning to stay positive. His remaining case has been moving very slowly: in April Oktibbeha County Circuit Court Judge Lee Howard denied Willie the opportunity to send some of the hair samples from his case to a different lab that specializes in extracting DNA from small degraded samples.
Fortunately, Willie’s attorneys are now preparing to appeal this decision to the Mississippi Supreme Court. The brief will probably be filed in the next few weeks.
We are optimistic that the Mississippi Supreme Court will uphold Willie’s request for further testing. In the cold of February, this appeal should give him hope. We trust it does.