DNA tests for a Mississippi inmate set to be executed Tuesday have been denied by the state, a move that defense attorneys say is rare in a case where a person is put to death.
Willie Jerome Manning was convicted of murdering two college students in 1992. Mr. Manning’s lawyers say that there are flaws in the prosecution’s case which could be proven thanks to DNA testing. The defense also says that almost all of the evidence against its client is circumstantial.
The defense also claims that their client is being singled out because he is a black and the victims were white.
Jon Steckler and Tiffany Miller‘s bodies were found in Oktibbeha County Dec. 11, 1992. Both were shot to death. Miller’s car was missing, but was located the next day. Prosecutors claim Manning was arrested after allegedly trying to sell items from the victims.
Mississippi Associate Justice Michael Randolph says Manning’s conviction is based on more than what the defense is challenging.
“The absence of Manning’s DNA does not preclude his participation in the crimes charged,” Randolph said. “Manning fails to demonstrate a reasonable probability that he would not have been convicted or would have received a lesser sentence if favorable results had been obtained through such forensic DNA testing at the time of the original prosecution.”