UConn student fugitive in court, charged with murder

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This photo provided by the Washington County, Maryland, Sheriff’s Office, Thursday May 28, 2020, shows Peter Manfredonia. Police say Manfredonia, a suspect in two killings in Connecticut who was arrested in Maryland after six days on the run will be arraigned in Connecticut on a murder charge. Connecticut state police say Manfredonia will be arraigned Friday, June 12 2020, in Rockville Superior Court on charges stemming from the May 22 death of 62-year-old Ted DeMers. (Washington County, Maryland, Sheriff’s Office via AP)

VERNON, Conn. (AP) — A University of Connecticut student, who is accused of killing two men and committing numerous other crimes while leading authorities on a six-day search, was arraigned Friday on murder and other charges.

Peter Manfredonia, 23, was ordered held on a $7 million bond for charges stemming from the May 22 death of Ted DeMers and a home invasion. Police have not yet brought charges in the second killing. Manfredonia was also put on suicide watch.

His attorney, Michael Dolan, declined to comment other than to say that Manfredonia’s family was not prepared to post such a high bond. Manfredonia has not yet entered a plea.

Manfredonia, who appeared 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.

Cyndi DeMers, the victim’s wife, has said Manfredonia was looking for a young woman whose family said it had been considering taking out a retraining order against him when he came walking down the road in front of their home. Her husband offered him a ride back to his motorcycle, which he had left down the road, she said.

Once back at the bike, there was a confrontation in which DeMers was killed with a machete and an 80-year-old neighbor 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 warrant 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 27when 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.

Manfredonia is due back in court July 10.

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

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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