Blog of Rights

Tomorrow, Willie Manning Is Scheduled To Die. Shouldn't Mississippi Find Out If He's Innocent First?

By Cassandra Stubbs, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 10:33am

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant alone has the power to save Willie Manning, who is scheduled to die tomorrow, May 7, 2013. Mississippi is steamrolling toward execution even though there is compelling evidence that Willie Manning may be an innocent man.

Manning's case has many of the hallmarks of those of other innocent death row exonerees: false snitch testimony, junk science, and racial bias. The prosecutors in Manning's case, like in all too many cases, stacked the deck by systematically removing African-American jurors from Manning's trial. Manning, an African-American man, was convicted of the murders of two white college students.

Much of the key evidence that led to Manning's murder convictions and sentence of death has turned out to be a sham. One witness has admitted that he lied in his testimony, and another confessed that she never revealed what she was promised for her words against Manning. The FBI has conceded that it wrongly testified about a "match" between a hair found in the victim's car and Manning when science supported no such thing. The FBI has gone further and offered to perform new DNA testing. Since 1994, Manning has been requesting DNA testing that would prove one way or the other the truth about the murders.

In the face of the evidence of innocence discovered since the trial, the Supreme Court of Mississippi failed to uphold its duty to serve justice. The Court decided that it would not stop Manning's execution to allow new DNA testing. Now, only a decision by Governor Bryant is likely to permit this critical testing.

Executions are not the place to act first and ask questions later. These grave questions of innocence should be answered before it is too late.

Live in Mississippi and want to help Willie Manning? Take action here.

Want to do more in your state? Check out our map on Ending the Death Penalty in the United States to see what action can be taken in your state.

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