MILFORD, Conn. (AP) — A 26-year-old Connecticut man pleaded guilty Thursday to murder and kidnapping charges in connection with a series of crimes in 2020 that led to a six-day multistate manhunt.
Peter Manfredonia admitted to shooting a former high school classmate to death, kidnapping the man’s girlfriend and stealing a car, two days after he had killed one man and wounded another with a sword.
Manfredonia already had pleaded guilty to murder and other charges earlier this month in the sword attack.
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The violence in Connecticut was followed by a six-day search in several states that ended with Manfredonia being capture in Maryland.
As part of a plea deal, Manfredonia, who is from Newtown, Connecticut, has agreed to accept a 55-year prison sentence for his crimes when he is sentenced in April.
“Peter and I explored various defenses and this was Peter’s choice on how to resolve the case,” attorney Michael Dolan told reporters after Thursday’s hearing.
Police and prosecutors said Manfredonia killed Ted DeMers, 62, and seriously wounded an 80-year-old man who lost several fingers and part of his ear in a Samurai sword attack in Willington on May 22, 2020.
It’s not clear why Manfredonia attacked the men, but an acquaintance of Manfredonia’s lived near DeMers’ home and told police she had recently stopped seeing him.
After the sword attack, police said Manfredonia broke into another man’s house in Willington and held him hostage for about 24 hours before taking off with his truck and firearms. The man later told police that Manfredonia told him “he just flipped.”
Two days later, Manfredonia went to Derby, Connecticut, to the home of a high school friend, Nicholas Eisele, 23, and fatally shot him, authorities said. Manfredonia then forced Eisele’s girlfriend into her car and fled the state, police said.
After Manfredonia let the woman go near Columbia, New Jersey, investigators tracked him to Pennsylvania, where police said he took an Uber to a Walmart in East Stroudsburg. Authorities searched the area but didn’t find him. A man fitting his description was later spotted near Scranton, Pennsylvania, prompting another search there.
Police believe Manfredonia stole a car and abandoned it in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, before taking another Uber to Hagerstown, Maryland, where he was captured without incident when police spotted him near a truck stop.
Dolan said Manfredonia had been suffering from mental health issues but had been unable to get treatment because of the pandemic.
He said Manfredonia would make a statement when he is sentenced.