Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Whitehall, PA: Whitehall man, 75, charged in wife's death

A 75-year-old Whitehall man was held without bail in the Allegheny County Jail Sunday after being charged with killing his 71-year-old wife.

Joseph R. Manning was taken into custody Saturday evening after police found his wife, Mary Carol Manning, dead in the living room of the couple's home in the 1100 block of Brant Drive. Mrs. Manning appeared to have suffered massive head trauma, and investigators found a blood-stained pipe wrench near her feet, according to a police criminal complaint.

Officers from Whitehall and the Allegheny County Police were called to the home Saturday afternoon after a man there called 911 and said his wife was dead, according to the complaint.

"Upon the officers' arrival, they were confronted by an elderly white male who was covered in blood holding a large bloody knife," the complaint states.

Police told him to drop the knife, but he refused. An officer shocked the man, who later was identified as Mr. Manning, with a Taser, and he was taken to UPMC Mercy for evaluation. When officers entered the home, they found Mrs. Manning dead inside.

At Mercy, Mr. Manning's clothing was collected and taken to the Allegheny County medical examiner's office, where police observed blood spatter on the front of Mr. Manning's pants that was "consistent with being in close proximity of someone who was struck repeatedly with a blunt object," the complaint states.

Mr. Manning was questioned at the hospital by a detective but refused to answer questions or make statements without an attorney present.

At the scene, officers gathered evidence including the knife, a pair of jeans, a cell phone, car keys and a brown paper bag. There were no signs of forced entry and no signs of any struggle between the victim and her attacker, according to the complaint. Robbery is not suspected because money and other valuable items were lying in plain view throughout the residence, police said.

Allegheny County property records show that the Mannings have owned the home since 1971.

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