A University of Connecticut college student allegedly used a samurai sword to cut off a man’s hand—injuring him so severely he died before making it to the hospital—then kidnapped another man and held him hostage for hours tied to chair, according to a newly released arrest warrant.
Peter Manfredonia, 23, is facing multiple charges including murder, attempted murder and assault of an elderly person in the first degree after an alleged multi-day crime spree in May that left two dead and triggered a nearly week-long manhunt that spanned several states.
The arrest warrant, released by Connecticut State Police and obtained by Oxygen.com, provides gruesome new details about the slayings and what may have triggered them.
The alleged crime spree began May 22 when authorities said Manfredonia drove his motorcycle to a Connecticut neighborhood where a woman he'd been seeing lived. The woman later told police she had stopped seeing Manfredonia after she learned that he'd hacked into her social media accounts in April. She told police that on May 20, she sent him a screenshot of a statute that showed the hacking was a crime, according to the warrant. She also confirmed that he'd owned a motorcycle and had samurai swords in his apartment.
The woman never received a response to her message, but days later Manfredonia showed up on the same street where she lived.
It was in that Willington neighborhood that he encountered 62-year-old Theodore DeMers, who lived on the same street and had spotted Manfredonia at the bottom of his driveway.
DeMers went to talk with the 23-year-old, who was wearing a motorcycle helmet, but had apparently experienced trouble with his bike and had left it elsewhere in the neighborhood. Demers later told another witness in the neighborhood that “the kid dumped his motorcycle down there” before both men were seen getting onto DeMers’ ATV and heading toward a cul-de-sac where the motorcycle had been left behind, according to the arrest warrant.
The encounter would allegedly turn deadly. Witnesses in the neighborhood told police they saw a 6-foot-tall man wearing a motorcycle helmet and dark clothing—later identified by police as Manfredonia—struggling with DeMers in the roadway.
One witness told police he saw the man pull out a “thin implement, which was between 2 and 3 feet long, above his head” and strike DeMers, who fell to the ground.
An 80-year-old man, who was not identified by police, tried to intervene but also injured by the metal implement.
The witness ran inside his home to tell a woman what was happening. They both ran out and yelled at the attacker to stop and said they were calling the police, but then they ran back inside and locked the doors after the man started walking toward them.
Police arrived at the scene to find DeMers with his right hand “completely severed” from his body and his thumb and index finger severed from his left hand. The flesh from DeMer’s triceps area was also “almost completely severed from his body,” and he had multiple lacerations to his back and head, police said.
DeMers was pronounced dead on his way to the hospital.
The 80-year-old man also suffered “serious and life-threatening injuries” to his head and upper torso but was later listed in stable condition after undergoing surgery at an area hospital.
Manfredonia allegedly fled the scene before authorities arrived, but a Kawasaki Ninja sport bike was later found in a wooded area, along with a T-shirt with Chinese lettering and the words “world peace” written on it.
Manfredonia’s cell phone and driver’s license were also later found nearby, according to the arrest warrant.
Authorities believe that after the 23-year-old fled the area, he broke into the home of another Willington resident. The man, who wasn't identified in the warrant, told police he had fallen asleep in his recliner Friday night and awoke abruptly around 5:15 a.m. Saturday morning to find a man holding a gun to his head.
The man told him not to turn around or he would ‘blow his f---ing brains out,” according to the affidavit.
“I turned around anyways and saw a young white man in his early ‘20’s who was dressed in a black T-shirt and black sweat pants that appeared soiled like he had been in the woods and he was barefoot,” the man wrote in his statement to police. “He had a blank look on his face.”
The man had not seen a photo of the suspect in the Friday slaying, but believed it was likely the same man, he told police.
The suspect tied his hands together with zip ties and put duct tape and led the man to the basement, where he duct-taped him to a chair and put a movie on a television set for him to watch.
As the two men sat together, the suspect played the phone messages on the man’s cell phone and house phone. One of the messages was from a neighbor telling him about the earlier murder and asking him to check on his house while he was out of town. Another was from a concerned family member who also referenced the murder.
The suspect told the man his name was “Rick,” but after the hostage saw his captor's picture on the news, he asked if his name was really Peter and he said that it was, the man told police.
The two passed the time by making small talk.
“I knew that they said the murder suspect might have used a motorcycle to get away so I asked if there was anything that he was fond of and he brought up motorcycles,” the man wrote in his statement.
The suspect also talked about his family.
“I asked if he wants to talk about what took place with the murder and he told me that he hadn’t slept for 5 days and that he just flipped,” the man wrote.
The man also said the suspect said he didn’t know why he had done it and that he was remorseful.
The man suggested he turn himself in, however, Manfredonia “made it clear” that wasn’t an option, the man said.
At some point, a neighbor—who was also a family member—came over to check on the man and began to knock on the door. When he didn’t answer, the man called his cell phone and asked why he wasn’t opening the door.
“Peter was whispering to me, telling me what to say and the male family member wanted to know if we could get together in the morning,” he wrote in his statement to police. “Peter was holding up two fingers telling me two days but I told him tomorrow morning.”
After the man got off the phone, Manfredonia allegedly told him that his friend had “screwed up the next morning for him.” Manfredonia made plans to leave the house—taking the man’s credit card, cash, lighter, alcohol and canned food with him as he gathered supplies.
He also said he planned to take a vehicle. The man told police he asked him not to take his Jeep because it belonged to his wife.
Manfredonia took the man’s F-150 truck instead and left him tied to the chair, according to the statement. The man told police he heard the engine start up on the truck around 5:15 a.m.
Before he left, Manfredonia allegedly told the man that if he hadn’t been discovered by noon, he would call the state police and tell them he was down in the basement.
After fleeing the man’s home, authorities believe Manfredonia traveled to Derby, where he allegedly killed his high school friend Nicholas Eisele, 23, later that day, NBC News reports.
Manfredonia was arrested in Maryland after a nearly week-long manhunt that included sightings in Pennsylvania.
The 23-year-old has not yet entered a plea to the multiple charges against him and is being held on a $7 million bond.
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