If someone’s life were at stake, wouldn’t you do everything you could to make sure any decision you made was correct? Wouldn’t you take advantage of every bit of information you could lay your hands on?
The Mississippi Supreme Court would not.
Willie Manning is on death row for the abduction and murder of two college students in 1992. While there is circumstantial evidence of his guilt, the only physical evidence is hair, hairs the FBI claims are from an African American (as Willie is), while the two victims were white. But the FBI and the National Academy of Science has recently recognized that, in the absence of DNA testing, hair analysis may not be reliable. The FBI is so concerned about this issue that they’re undertaking a massive review of all the cases in which their analysts testified regarding hair microscopy.
What would you do? Test the hair for DNA. Simple.
Then why has the Mississippi Supreme Court denied Willie’s multiple requests for DNA testing?
It’s not that there’s no evidence to test. There’s the hairs, as well as a rape kit and fingernail scrapings. But the Court insists there’s already “overwhelming evidence of guilt.” Maybe. But why not make sure with one more test. A man’s life is at stake.