PARCHMAN, Miss. (WCBI) – The murders of two Mississippi State students in Oktibbeha County and two elderly women in Starkville rocked the Golden Triangle in the early 1990’s. Since, then a man has been charged and convicted and has sat on death row since 1996. Willie Jerome “Fly” Manning was set to be executed tonight but recent developments have changed that.
It’s the latest development in a case that’s been ongoing since 1992. I’m out at Parchman Penitentiary where convicted murderer Willie Jerome Manning was expected to be put to death.
But for the families of Jon Steckler and Tiffany Miller, their day of justice was put on hold.
Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps says, “The Mississippi Supreme Court stayed the execution. What happens now is standard operation. Inmate Manning will be transported from Unit 17 where executions are conducted back to Unit 29J building.”
Even though someone is charged, tried and convicted, it’s not always a sure thing a death row inmate will be put to death. We spoke with a former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice, who says plenty can change at the last hour.
Former MS Supreme Court Justice Chuck Easley says, “The Supreme Court usually hears some last minute arguments in a death penalty case. You don’t want to put anybody to death if there is any possability that they might not be guilty.”
The evidence in question deals with a strand of hair that wasn’t tested for DNA and FBI testimony that stated there was an error in the ballistic testing on bullets pulled from a tree outside Manning’s home and bullets pulled from the victims he is believed to have shot in the head. Manning’s continues to say he is an innocent man.
Epps says, “He denied committing the crimes and he was asking and hoping he could get a DNA test.”
As some of the evidence used to prove Manning’s guilt called into question, the convicted double murderer remains alive.