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Peter Manfredonia sentenced to 55 years in prison for killing friend, kidnapping woman


Manfredonia has also pleaded guilty to murder, assault in the first degree, and home invasion charges in connection to the crime spree.

MILFORD, Conn. — The former UConn student and Newtown man who pleaded guilty to killing his childhood friend and kidnapping his girlfriend was sentenced in Milford Superior Court on Wednesday. 26-year-old Peter Manfredonia was sentenced to 55 years in prison for the crimes, connected back to May of 2020. 

Manfredonia murdered his childhood friend, Nick Eisele, in the early morning hours of Sunday, May 24th, 2020. He entered Eisele’s apartment in Derby on Roosevelt Dr., which Eisele shared with his girlfriend, Shannon Spies. That’s when Manfredonia, loaded with a handgun, shot and killed Eisele, kidnapped Spies, and forced her to drive him across state lines. Ultimately, she was rescued by a good Samaritan at a truck stop in New Jersey. 

Manfredonia then kept on running, launching a multistate manhunt where he was arrested without incident in Maryland.

“I won’t lie, this plea deal does nothing for me. Except close the door on this court case,” Spies said in her victim impact statement in court on Wednesday.

Spies described the last three grueling years of her life, where every day, she is simply trying to survive. 

“What is both the best and worst part of all of this, is that I walked away without a scratch,” Spies said. “The only time he tried to touch me, was when he tried to give me a hug and apologize for killing my boyfriend.” 

Spies described the hours she had to spend driving Manfredonia around, not knowing if it would be her last day on Earth. 

“Between hearing the gruesome details that he felt like sharing and trying to be as nice as possible so that I could stay alive. I held my own funeral throughout that drive. But instead, I was forced to live after that,” Spies said.

For more than an hour, Manfredonia sat and stared into the distance, not making eye contact with the friends and family of Eisele, who read their statements aloud. 

“I feel pain every time I relive the morning my dad and I went to check in on my brother. I feel pain every time I have to step back from a group because I heard a noise that brought me back to questioning my brother’s last moments. I feel pain the countless nights I deprive myself of sleep. I feel pain when I leave the lights on at night because I’m too scared to see Peter Manfredonia’s face when I close my eyes,” said one of Eisele’s little sisters, Gianna Eisele.

“Peter Manfredonia is a monster, who must be punished for what he has done,” said Jessica Eisele, Nick’s other sister.

Eisele is survived by his two sisters and his twin brother, Michael. He is also survived by his parents, step-parents, and several other family members including aunts, uncles, cousins, and more. Dozens of them were in court on Wednesday, wearing shirts with Eisele’s face on them, honoring his memory.

“Nick is a recurring light. And I say this to say because even in the taking of his life, it couldn’t be snuffed. In fact, it shines even brighter,” said Vanessa McKeon, Eisele’s Aunt.

Eisele’s family described Nick as a kindhearted man who loved music, art, horticulture, and more than anything, his family.

Following the victim impact statements, Manfredonia shared a statement. Part of which he said, “There are no words that could possibly atone for what I have done. My actions were nothing short of reprehensible. Know that I do not expect your forgiveness, But I apologize nonetheless.” 

In her statement, Spies said she doesn’t want an apology.

“I don’t want an apology from him, or his lawyer, or his parents, or his sisters. I want to know that I can feel safe again, and he will never know the world outside of a prison for the rest of his life,” Spies said. 

On top of the sentencing, the judge issued an order of protection for Spies. Manfredonia was also placed on the deadly weapons offender registry. 

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Manfredonia also pleaded guilty to murder, assault and home invasion in connection to the first part of the crime spree, taking place on Friday, May 22nd of 2020. That’s when Manfredonia killed 62-year-old Theodore DeMers and seriously wounded an 80-year-old man. Following that, 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.” 

Manfredonia is expected to be sentenced for those crimes in Rockville Superior Court on Thursday.

As for the motive for the crime spree, Manfredonia’s attorney continued to say he struggles with mental health issues and experienced a “psychotic episode” that Memorial Day weekend. 

After Manfredonia let Spries 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.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Julia LeBlanc is a reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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