UConn student fugitive in court, charged with murder

VERNON, Conn. (AP) — A University of Connecticut student who spent six days as a fugitive during a crime spree that included the killings of two men, was arraigned Friday on charges including murder.

Peter Manfredonia, 23, was ordered held on a $7 million bond and suicide watch in the May 22 death of Ted DeMers and other crimes. Manfredonia’s attorney, Michael Dolan, declined to comment.

Manfredonia, who appreared from a holding cell via video conference, was brought to Connecticut early Friday from Maryland, where he was taken into custody on May 27. He is charged with murder, criminal attempt to commit murder, assault, home invasion, kidnapping with a firearm, robbery, larceny, stealing a firearm and assault on an elderly person. The charges are in connection with DeMers' death and a home invasion in Willington, Connecticut.

Cyndi DeMers, the victim’s wife, has said Manfredonia was looking for a female acquaintance when he came walking down the road in front of their home wearing a motorcycle helmet and her husband offered him a ride back to his motorcycle.

Once back at the bike, there was a confrontation in which DeMers was killed and a second neighbor, an 80-year-old man, was seriously injured after coming to DeMers’ aid, Cyndi DeMers said.

According to state police, the University of Connecticut senior then went to another man’s home, held him hostage, stole his guns and truck and drove about 70 miles (110 kilometers) southwest to Derby.

Superior Court Judge Hope Seeley set bail at $5 million for the murder charge and $2 million for the subsequent home invasion. She ordered the arrest warrent sealed for two weeks.

On May 24, police found Manfredonia’s high school friend, Nicholas Eisele, 23, shot to death in his Derby home. Authorities believe Manfredonia killed him and then forced Eisele’s girlfriend into her car and fled the state.

State police said further charges will be filed in Eisele's death and the kidnapping of Eisele's girlfriend, who was later found unharmed in New Jersey.

He also is suspected of stealing a vehicle in Pennsylvania.

“Our hope is that the developments that will be provided today will give the families and communities impacted some kind of closure,” Trooper Josue Dorelus, a state police spokesman, said.

Manfredonia was arrested May 27 when he walked out of a wooded area in Maryland and was spotted by police. He declined to fight extradition back to Connecticut during a brief court hearing the day after his capture.

State’s Attorney Matthew Gedanski said that media reports of a surrender were not accurate.

“He was only caught thanks to a wide ranging police investigation. If not for that I’m not sure when we would have found him,” he said in court.

A gun that police believe was used in the slaying of Eisele was recovered near where Manfredonia was taken into custody, police have said.


This story has been updated to correct that Manfredonia is accused of killing two men, not a man and a woman.

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