Request for new hearing denied for man convicted of 2014 murder

SDN Staff
Staff Writer

The state Court of Appeals on Tuesday denied a motion for a rehearing in the case of a Starkville man convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

In March, 47-year-old Immanuel Manning appealed the murder conviction, but was denied.

Manning was found guilty of murder and sentenced as a habitual offender to life in prison at the Mississippi Department of Corrections without eligibility for parole or early release.

Oktibbeha County Circuit Court also sentenced Manning to two years in MDOC custody on witness intimidation.

According to Manning's previous appeal, his legal counsel argued Oktibbeha County Sheriff's Office Investigator Lt. Brett Watson's opinion testimony was inadmissible and the state presented insufficient evidence to support the conviction for witness intimidation.
Manning's argument claimed Watson's testimony was an inadmissible lay opinion testimony because cell tower pings are technical in nature. He also argued the State's leading questions evoked affirmative answers from Watson when discussion how he tracked Manning.
In March 2014, Christopher Houston was shot and killed by Manning at his home in Starkville.

Houston shared the home with his girlfriend Natalla Carter.

In the court document, Carter testified she was cleaning the bathtub at the time of the shooting. After Houston was shot, Carter said she ran outside when she heard Houston call her name.

When Carter moved outside, she saw Houston on the ground near a four wheeler and in Houston's final words, he told her "Papoose shot (him)."

Carter testified she knew "Papoose" to be the moniker of Manning.

Carter told Oktibbeha County Sheriff's deputy Mahyar Netadji, who was the first law enforcement officer on the scene, Manning had shot Houston.

Netadji attempted to get a verbal response from Houston, but was unsuccessful. Houston died at the scene despite first responders' attempts to revive him there and at the hospital.

Once Houston was transported to the hospital, Netadji was informed Manning was likely headed to Jackson and notified dispatchers, which resulted in an “Be On The Lookout" alert to neighboring counties.

In the court documents, it says Houston's neighbor was able to identify the car Manning was driving and saw him running back toward the vehicle after the encounter.

Netadji was informed Manning was likely headed to Jackson.

Investigator’s discovered Manning's cell phone number and contacted the service provider to email Manning's coordinates of cell phone usage throughout the day.

This information led to the apprehension of Manning in Pearl.

Manning's hands were tested for gunshot residue at the Pearl Police Department.

After Manning was released on bond, Carter encountered him twice and testified saying he made kissing gestures toward her.

"I was coming in to Brooksville Garden and he was leaving making kissing gestures," Carter said in her testimony.

She said she could not make out what he was saying except for the words "do something."