Manning denied appeal by US Supreme Court

By The Associated Press

JACKSON — The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal from Mississippi death row inmate Willie Jerome Manning.

Manning asked U.S. Supreme Court in December to listen to his arguments for a new trial. The court declined Monday without comment.

Attorney General Jim Hood later Monday asked the Mississippi Supreme Court to set an execution date for Manning. In his motion, Hood asked the court to set the date of execution for April 24.

“It is the state’s position that the denial of the petition … brings to a conclusion the challenges by Manning in state and federal courts to his sentence of death,” Hood said in the motion.

The 5th Circuit said under state law, Manning had until April 5, 2000, to file a post-conviction petition. Court records show Manning did not file anything with the Mississippi Supreme Court until Oct. 8, 2001.

Manning, now 44, received two death sentences for the 1992 slayings of two Mississippi State University students, Jon Steckler and Tiffany Miller.

On Dec. 11, 1992, the bodies of Miller and Steckler were discovered in rural Oktibbeha County. Both students had been shot to death, and Miller’s car was missing. The vehicle was found the next morning.

Prosecutors said Manning was arrested after he attempted to sell certain items belonging to the victims.

Manning has another appeal pending in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court in a separate death penalty case.

Last month, the Mississippi Supreme Court asked an Oktibbeha County judge to explain why no ruling has been issue on a post-conviction petition filed by Manning in a case involving the deaths of two women.

Manning was convicted in 1996 for the killings of Emmoline Jimmerson, 90, and Alberta Jordan, about 60, in Starkville. The women were beaten and their throats slashed during a robbery attempt in 1993. The Supreme Court upheld his two death sentences in 2000.

In 2004, the Mississippi court said Manning could pursue a PCR on whether prosecutors withheld certain evidence, whether prosecutors presented false evidence and whether Manning was denied effective assistance of counsel both at trial and on appeal.

The Oktibbeha court held a hearing in January of 2011.