April 25, 2023
Peter Manfredonia, 26, of Newtown, Connecticut was sentenced to 55 years behind bars last month for various crimes committed in 2020, including murder, kidnapping and home invasion.
Manfredonia pleaded guilty to Murder and Home Invasion at Rockville Superior Court on February 8, 2023.
In May of 2020 a manhunt for Peter Manfredonia, then a 23-year-old senior student at the University of Connecticut, was launched across three states. Manfredonia had fled a crime scene in Willington, Connecticut and was considered armed and dangerous.
On May 22, 2020, Manfredonia was picked up by a good Samaritan named Ted DeMers, who noticed him walking along the roadside near his home, which happened to be the same area Manfredonia’s ex-girlfriend lived.
At the time, Manfredonia was wearing a motorcycle helmet, obscuring his face, and claimed that he was trying to get back to his motorcycle after it had broken down. The situation soon turned fatal after the two got into a physical altercation.
62-year-old Ted DeMers died from his injuries after Manfredonia brutally attacked him with a samurai sword during a struggle. DeMers was struck in the head with the sword and lost his thumb and index finger in the attack and had slashes to his back. His right hand was severed from his body. DeMers died from his injuries on route to the hospital.
John Franco, 80, who had intervened on DeMers behalf, was also attacked, however, survived serious and life-threatening injuries to his head, neck, and hands after getting surgery at a nearby hospital.
On May 24, 2020, Manfredonia invaded the home of a man on Turnpike Drive, Willington and held the owner against his will, stealing the man's vehicle as well as food supplies and firearms before crashing the truck and later ditching it on Hawthorne Avenue, Derby at around 6:30am.
In a statement, the victim told police that he had fallen asleep in his chair and awoke to a gun being held against his head at around 5:15am.
He told police: “I turned around anyways and saw a young white man in his early twenties who was dressed in a black T-shirt and black sweatpants that appeared soiled like he had been in the woods, and he was barefoot. He had a blank look on his face.”
The victim was duct taped to a chair in the basement and sat in front of the TV while a movie played. Eventually news of the murders played on the TV and the man began asking Manfredonia if it was him and what had happened. The pair began to converse and Manfredonia said he wasn’t sure why he had killed and said he had “flipped” after staying awake for several days.
Several hours later, the body of Manfredonia's friend and classmate, John Eisele, was discovered in a home on Roosevelt Drive. He had been fatally shot. After killing Eisele, Manfredonia forced the man’s girlfriend into her black Volkswagen Jetta and held her at gunpoint for the next several hours. By this point, the police had identified the killer after tracking his movements from crime scene to crime scene on CCTV. Images of Manfredonia walking along a railway track with a duffle bag slung over his shoulder were obtained by investigators and Connecticut Police put out an alert warning the public: Suspect is believed to be armed with pistols and long guns in the area of Osborne dale State Park, Derby. Expect to see a heavy police presence in the area. Do NOT approach, call 9-1-1 immediately if you see the individual.
Peter Manfredonia was described as white, 6”3, 240lbs, armed and dangerous.
After leaving Spies at the rest stop, Manfredonia ordered an Uber to take him to a Walmart in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.
Spies, along with her vehicle, were found by police several miles from the New Jersey-Pennsylvania state line. She confirmed to officers that Manfredonia was responsible for her kidnapping.
After several sightings, Manfredonia was eventually apprehended and arrested on May 27, 2020, in Maryland.
At trial last month Franco said in a statement that he believed in capital punishment and believed that Peter Manfredonia should be executed for his crimes.
Tolland State’s Attorney, Matthew C. Gedansky, claimed that Manfredonia was on his way to murder his ex-girlfriend, who had recently broken up with him, when he ran into DeMer. Manfredonia's own lawyer claimed that the killer had planned to commit suicide in front of his ex-girlfriend and that his actions were due to a psychotic episode, a symptom of Manfredonia's bipolar disorder, he claimed.
Manfredonia's girlfriend reportedly broke up with him after she learned that he had hacked into her social media accounts and confronted him with screenshots letting him know that what he had done was a crime. She received no response from Manfredonia, however, within days he was in her neighbourhood with a sword in a duffel bag.
Shannon Spies said in her statement that her life had changed forever following the murder of her boyfriend and her kidnapping. She explained that she no longer felt safe, even in a room filled with people she knew, and that she saw the world differently to how she did before.
“I won’t lie. This plea deal does nothing for me except close the door on this court case. The damage can never be undone. None of this brings Nick back or makes me feel whole again,” said Spies.
Manfredonia addressed the victim’s family, expressing regret and apologizing for his crimes, he said: "There are no words that can possibly atone for what I have done. My actions were nothing short of reprehensible. ... Nick was a good young man to whom I felt no ill will or malice. My actions were senseless. Please know you have my deepest apology.”
Manfredonia has been sentenced to 55 years for his crimes.
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