Manfredonia Arrest Warrant Unsealed
The arrest warrant for Peter Manfredonia, who faces ten charges in the May 22 killing of a Willington resident and for seriously injuring one of the man’s neighbors, was unsealed Monday.
The 14-page document had been sealed from public inspection for 14 days, due in part to the continuing investigation by Connecticut State Police. It was also sealed to protect the personal safety of a confidential informant or witness, according to notes on the paperwork.
Manfredonia, 23, has been charged with the killing of Ted DeMers, 62, of Willington, and with the attempted murder of DeMers’ 80-year-old male neighbor.
After those crimes were committed, Manfredonia spent much of the weekend of May 22-24 in Willington, where he held a man in his home against his will before stealing several weapons, food, and liquor, and one of the man’s vehicles, according to the unsealed warrant.
He has been charged with Murder; Criminal Attempt To Commit Murder; Assault in The First Degree; Home Invasion; Kidnapping With A Firearm-First Degree; Robbery-First Degree; Larceny-First Degree; Stealing A Firearm (two counts); and Assault on An Elderly Party-Third Degree.
New public details in the affidavit include descriptions from witnesses who observed all or part of the interaction between Manfredonia and DeMers, Manfredonia and his second victim, and other witnesses related to the May 22 events in Willington.
A Samurai sword believed to have been used in the homicide and in the assault of DeMers’ neighbor, along with “a black, wooden scabbard” were both located during early processing of the area near the attacks. A red Kawasaki sport bike registered to Manfredonia, with a Southbury address, was also located within hours of the attacks.
A white motorcycle helmet was also located nearby, as was a dark shirt with Chinese lettering and “world peace” on it. The shirt was found in a stream “and appeared as though an attempt was made to wash the shirt clean in the water,” the affidavit notes.
A search in the suspect’s apartment later uncovered a box of shirts, identical to each other and containing the same design as the T-shirt found by the stream in Willington.
Manfredonia’s cell phone and wallet, which included his driver’s license, according to the affidavit, were also recovered “in close proximity” to the motorcycle.
The affidavit includes information provided by “a known female acquaintance” who lives near the man who was murdered. She told police she had last seen the accused on April 25, and “had stopped seeing Manfredonia after she learned on 5/18/2020 that Manfredonia had managed to hack into her social media accounts in April.”
Another witness, from the same household as the above female, told police they had been discussing getting a restraining order against Manfredonia.
The affidavit also notes that “through investigative efforts, Manfredonia has been associated with numerous law enforcement investigations to include suicide and homicidal ideation.”
Multiple pages of the affidavit include a first-person account by an elderly man identified as Witness #11. The man describes waking up “abruptly” at 5:15 am Saturday, May 23, to find a male in his bedroom, holding him at gunpoint.
“I saw a young white man in his early 20s who was dressed in a black T-shirt and black sweat pants that appeared soiled like he had been in the woods and he was barefoot. He had a blank look on his face,” the affidavit notes.
The witness described the next 24 hours, during which time the man reportedly moved the witness into his basement and then used duct tape to bind him to a chair. The suspect asked the man what he likes to watch on TV, and then put a movie on, the affidavit notes.
He told his captive that his name was Rick. Witness #11 got him to talk about himself and his family, and Manfredonia smiled when he talked about motorcycles, according to the statement.
After a news report showed a photo of Manfredonia and described the events of the previous day, the suspect admitted to who he was.
“I asked if he wanted to talk about what took place with the murder and he told me that he hadn’t slept for 5 days and that he just flipped. He said he didn’t know why he did it and that he was remorseful for it,” according to the affidavit.
The captive man suggested calling authorities. He was careful, he also said, “because there were things that he wouldn’t talk about.”
After a second suggestion to turn himself in, Manfredonia “made it clear that wasn’t an option,” the affidavit notes. “He told me he was going to have two good weeks and then he figured it would end in either a shootout, the death penalty, or life in prison.”
Manfredonia stayed the night of May 23 in that man’s home. Manfredonia made dinner for himself and ate it; the captive turned down an offer of food. Manfredonia did provide a drink for the man to take medications with. The man believes he fell asleep around 11 pm, Saturday.
The man recalls waking around 2 am, Sunday, May 24, and Manfredonia “was up already and seemed to be getting his things ready for the day.”
After showering, shaving, and changing into clean clothes, Manfredonia tightened a clothesline that was keeping the man tied to the chair he was in. After having a good rapport the previous day, the man could tell Manfredonia’s “whole demeanor was different and it was all business with him” then. The blank stare of the previous day had returned.
Manfredonia indicated he would be departing the residence, and reportedly told the man he would be watching him, “and if I made any movements or squirmed there would be serious consequences.” Manfredonia told the man to stay still, and that if no one found him by 10 am that morning, “he would call the State Police at noon time and tell them I was down here.”
The witness heard the engine in his pickup truck start, he said, around 5:15 am, Sunday, “because I saw the time on my cable box.” That was the last time the man remembers hearing or seeing Manfredonia.
Connecticut State Police (CSP) showed up at the home in Willington later that day and freed the man from his holdings.
The Ford F-150 registered to Witness #11, presumably taken by Manfredonia, had been involved in a minor accident and abandoned in Derby. CSP first made attempts to contact the registered owner on the phone, and then went to his residence.
When there was no answer at the door, troopers forced entry inside and found the man tied to the chair in his basement.
Additional Charges Expected
Manfredonia is also expected to be charged in the homicide of Nick Eisele, 23, who was a Newtown High School classmate of Manfredonia.
Eisele was found murdered in his home in Derby the morning of May 24. Police believe Manfredonia kidnapped Eisele’s girlfriend, forcing the woman into vehicle and fled the state with her. The woman was later released unharmed.
Manfredonia was arrested three days later, outside a truck stop near the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Hagerstown, Md. He was transported from Maryland to Connecticut during the overnight hours of June 11-12.
Superior Court Judge Hope C. Seeley on June 12 ordered Manfredonia held in lieu of $7 million bail — $5 million for the murder charge and $2 million for the home invasion — and directed he be placed on a suicide watch.