|------ Original Message -----
From: Diane Manning
To: LeVal McLean ; Jerrildine Reed ; Ruth Vietrigreen ; Charlotte Shaffer ; Gerard Hansen ; Juké Pitout ; Juana Kelly ; Leroy Moore ; Bonnie Kerness ;
email@example.com ; Soraya ; Sherry Swiney ; Doug Tjapkes
Sent: Thursday, June 24, 2004 2:38 PM
Subject: MICHAEL MANNING'S CASE FINALLY ENDS!!!!
PRAISE THE LORD for these words. Our heartfelt
thanks to all for your support, prayers & friendship. We much appreciate
it. Blessings to all. Diane
Manning murder case ends
By KEVIN AMERMAN
STROUDSBURG - A Swiftwater man can finally move on after years of battling charges that he killed his sister's boyfriend.
Michael Manning, 34, was sentenced to four to eight years in state prison Tuesday, but because he had already served more than four years while fighting his charges, he was immediately placed on parole by Monroe County Judge Peter J. O'Brien.
Manning was convicted in 1998 of third-degree murder for killing Harry Burley Jr., 30, of Emerald Lakes, but the conviction was reversed by the Pennsylvania Superior Court.
The case returned to Monroe County Court, and Manning pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, a felony, last month. In return for his guilty plea, a third-degree criminal homicide charge was dropped.
The plea agreement was worked out by Manning's attorney, Salvatore Vito, and assistant district attorneys Robert Saurman and Janet Catina. Vito was Manning's attorney for the murder trial and for Manning's first unsuccessful appeal to the Superior Court.
Manning claimed he was defending himself during a fight started by Burley on June 16, 1997, at Muldoon's Sunoco on Route 611 in Scotrun. Manning said Burley came after him with a knife, and he took the weapon from Burley.
Burley was stabbed in the heart, but Manning, who needs a cane to walk because of a back injury he sustained before the deadly incident, said he doesn't remember stabbing Burley.
The original jury acquitted Manning of first-degree murder and manslaughter, but convicted him of third-degree murder, and he was sentenced to 12 to 30 years in state prison.
But Manning's attorneys filed appeals to the Superior Court. The second one was successful. It said the prosecutor in the case, former District Attorney Mark Pazuhanich, made an unfair statement in his closing argument.
The Superior Court granted Manning a new trial by a 2-1 vote.
The controversial remark by Pazuhanich was: "Do you remember Barbara Rowe in jury selection? She was the woman who sat here (and said to Pazuhanich) 'I have a great deal of confidence in you, I mean, we wouldn't be here if you did not do your homework, right?'"
The Superior Court ruled in 2002 that Pazuhanich used "poor judgment which prejudiced Appellant (Manning) before the jury.
"The prosecutor's remarks concerning Ms. Rowe were highly irregular," the Superior Court wrote.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court decided in October not to hear an appeal from Pazuhanich on the Superior Court decision.
The Superior Court judges noted the woman was tossed out of the jury pool by Monroe County President Judge Ronald E. Vican specifically because her remark appeared to show a bias for the prosecution. Pazuhanich re-introduced the same prejudice Vican was trying to get rid of, the judges said.