College Student Wanted In 2 Connecticut Slayings Is Captured

May 28, 2020

Peter Manfredonia, wanted in connection with two killings and a kidnapping in Connecticut, was taken into custody in Maryland after authorities tracked him to a truck stop, according to details released by police on Thursday.
Credit Washington County, Maryland, Sheriff's Office via AP

A college student wanted in connection with two killings in Connecticut was taken into custody when he walked out of a wooded area and surrendered peacefully in Maryland after six days on the run, police said Thursday.

Peter Manfredonia, 23, a University of Connecticut senior, declined to fight extradition back to Connecticut during a brief court hearing Thursday conducted by video. It remained unclear how long he will stay detained in Maryland.

Authorities from several law enforcement agencies had converged at a truck stop just outside Hagerstown on Wednesday night and were discussing their next moves when Manfredonia approached them, said Hagerstown police Lt. Rebecca Fetchu. He was taken into custody without incident, she said.

“We’re just happy everything ended peacefully,” Fetchu said.

Manfredonia was scared and exhausted when he surrendered, said Michael Dolan, a Connecticut lawyer representing Manfredonia’s family.

“The family was relieved that this ended peacefully,” Dolan said. “They’re anxious for his return to Connecticut.”

Authorities were able to pinpoint Manfredonia’s possible location Wednesday night when U.S. marshals learned an Uber driver dropped him off near the truck stop, Fetchu said. Earlier in the day, Hagerstown police confirmed through surveillance cameras that he was in the city, after he apparently abandoned a stolen car about 20 miles away in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, and took an Uber to Hagerstown, she said.

Manfredonia was wanted in the machete killing of 62-year-old Ted DeMers and the wounding of another man in Willington, Connecticut, on Friday. 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 to his motorcycle.

Manfredonia also went to another man’s home in Willington, held him hostage, stole his guns and truck and drove about 70 miles southwest to Derby, Connecticut, state police said.

In Derby, police found Manfredonia’s high school friend, Nicholas Eisele, 23, shot to death in his home on Sunday. Authorities believe Manfredonia then forced Eisele’s girlfriend into her car and fled the state. The girlfriend was found unharmed with her car at a rest stop near Columbia, New Jersey.

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

After finding the kidnapped woman in New Jersey, investigators tracked Manfredonia to Pennsylvania, where police said he took an Uber to a Walmart in East Stroudsburg. Police discovered through interviews with the driver and from security camera footage that Manfredonia walked behind the store and onto railroad tracks, authorities said.

A man fitting his description was spotted Tuesday night near Scranton, Pennsylvania, prompting another search there.

Authorities have not offered a possible motive for the crimes.

Uber officials said in a statement Thursday that they provided information to law enforcement about Manfredonia. They declined to give details.

Connecticut State Police announced Manfredonia’s arrest late Wednesday night.

“The suspect will face justice and this will bring closure. This is what is important for the families of the victims,” said Trooper First Class Christine Jeltema, a state police spokeswoman.

Manfredonia, a Newtown native, was an honors engineering student at UConn. Dolan said Manfredonia had a history of depression and anxiety but had not shown signs of violence.