BREAKING: With Hours Remaining, Mississippi Stays Execution Of Man Whose DNA Was Never Tested

Hours before his scheduled execution at 6 p.m. today, the Mississippi Supreme Court has issued a stay to Willie Jerome Manning, whose death sentence was upheld in a 5-4 court ruling last week even though the state refused to test available DNA evidence, and the FBI deemed major pieces of evidence in the case “unscientific” and “invalid.” As a consequence, Manning will not be executed tonight and will have more time to continue arguing his case.

Late Tuesday afternoon, an 8-1 majority granted Manning’s last-ditch motion, which included new letters from the Department of Justice describing how crucial hair samples were improperly tested, and testimony improperly linked bullets near Manning’s home to bullets at the crime scene. Manning was convicted in the 1992 abduction and murder in part based on testimony that the hair samples were likely his because both he and the hair strands were African American. The trial also featured testimony from a jailhouse informant, which studies have shown is particularly unreliable.