By DAVE COLLINS Associated Press
MILFORD, Conn. (AP) — A 26-year old man who used a sword to attack two men in Eastern Connecticut before going on a crime spree that included killing a former classmate and kidnapping a woman before during a multistate manhunt was sentenced Wednesday to 55 years in prison.
Peter Manfredonia pleaded guilty in February to murder, kidnapping and other charges in the shooting death of Nicholas Eisele, 23, and the kidnapping of Eisele’s girlfriend.
FILE — Peter Manfredonia appears in Superior Court, in Rockville, Conn., Feb. 8, 2023. Manfredonia, who has admitted wielding a sword in a fatal attack in Eastern Connecticut, was sentenced to 55 years in prison Wednesday, April 19, 2023, for killing a former classmate and kidnapping a woman during a multi-state manhunt. (Ned Gerard/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP, Pool, File)
Friends and family of Eisele wore T-shirts to Milford Superior Court emblazoned with his photo inside a heart with words reading “As long as I breathe you’ll be remembered. Justice for Nick.”
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Manfredonia apologized separately to the Eisele family and kidnapping victim Shannon Spies.
“There are no words that can possibly atone for what I have done. My actions were nothing short of reprehensible,” he said. “What I did was inexcusably horrendous and I will regret it every day for the rest of my life.”
Manfredonia has also pleaded guilty to murder and other charges in the sword attack and is scheduled to be sentenced for those crimes on Thursday.
It’s not clear why Manfredonia attacked the men, but an acquaintance of his 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 Eisele, a high school friend, and fatally shot him, authorities said. He then forced Eisele’s girlfriend into her car and fled the state, police said.
The violence in Connecticut was followed by a six-day search in several states.
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.
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, Connecticut on May 22, 2020.