Connecticut sword attack killer gets two 55-year prison sentences : NPR

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Peter Manfredonia was sentenced to 55 years in prison for killing two people, injuring another, holding a man hostage and kidnapping a woman in 2020.

Ned Gerard/AP

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Ned Gerard/AP

Peter Manfredonia was sentenced to 55 years in prison for killing two people, injuring another, holding a man hostage and kidnapping a woman in 2020.

Ned Gerard/AP

A Connecticut court issued a second sentence of 55 years in prison to a man who attacked two people with a Samurai sword, killing one and seriously injuring the other.

It is the second sentence — and identical in length — for Peter Manfredonia, 26, who also fatally shot a man and kidnapped his girlfriend before leading police on a six-day manhunt across several states in the 2020.

Manfredonia was a senior studying finance and mechanical engineering at the University of Connecticut when he “just flipped,” according to his arrest warrantand fatally stabbed 62-year-old Theodore DeMers with a sword on May 22, 2020 outside the man’s home in Wilmington, Conn.

Manfredonia then attacked the man who came to save DeMers, John Franco, who was 80 years old at the time, leaving him with serious injuries to his hands, neck and head.

Manfredonia broke into a nearby house and took a third man hostage for 24 hours. A day later, he drove across the state to Derby and fatally shot a former classmate and kidnapped that classmate’s girlfriend. Let her go, physically unharmed, to a layover in New Jersey.

After six days of searchingpolice arrested Manfredonia at a truck stop in Hagerstown, Md., without incident.

On Wednesday, the defendant was sentenced to 55 years in prison for the second murder and kidnapping. On Thursday, he was sentenced to another 55 years in prison for the sword attacks, court documents show.

Between the two cases, Manfredonia pleaded guilty for five counts of murder, assault, kidnapping and home invasion. Both of his sentences will run concurrently, and he has agreed not to seek early release as part of his plea bargains, The Associated Press reports.

The victims and their families in both cases agreed to the plea bargain after months of discussion, according to reporting from Connecticut Public Radio.

This week’s sentencing hearings came with several days of emotional testimony from victims and eyewitnesses.

Cindy DeMers, the widow of the man killed with a samurai sword, told the court that she believes her husband’s killer deserved the death penalty, even though Connecticut has outlawed capital punishment in -2016.

“It was like being in a war zone,” she said, according to the Associated Press. “All I could focus on was reassuring Ted that he was going to be okay and we were going to put his body back together. We’re going to get through this. We’ve been through a lot together up until this point.

“He was still alive when he was taken, but he never came home,” she added. “My husband’s life was stolen from him in a vicious way. Life as I knew it [was] stolen from me. My world as I knew it has come to an end.”

State Attorney Matthew Gedansky said Manfredonia was in DeMers’ neighborhood because he planned to kill his ex-girlfriend, who lived nearby, the AP reported. Michael Dolan, the defendant’s lawyer, said that his client has bipolar disorder and anxiety and was actually planning to commit suicide in front of the woman as part of a psychotic episode.

Witnesses said DeMers thought Manfredonia had crashed his motorcycle and was offering to help when he was attacked, according to several media accounts of the trial.

Mafredonia apologized twice in court this week, directing separate comments to each of the victims and their families.

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