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Former Connecticut college student who killed man with a sword is sentenced to 55 years

Peter Manfredonia also wounded a second man and later fatally shot another person and kidnapped his girlfriend. He was arrested after a manhunt.
Peter Manfredonia stands during his sentencing hearing in Milford Superior Court, in Milford, Conn. Wednesday, April 19, 2023. Manfredonia was sentenced to 55 years in prison Wednesday for the 2020 murder of his former high school classmate, Nicholas Eisele, in Derby and the kidnapping of Eisele's girlfriend Shannon Spies. Manfredonia is seen here with his defense attorney Michael Dolan. (Ned Gerard/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP, Pool)
Peter Manfredonia at his sentencing hearing in Milford Superior Court in Milford, Conn., on Wednesday.Ned Gerard / Pool/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP

A Connecticut man who killed two people, one with a samurai sword, and kidnapped a woman in 2020 was sentenced to 55 years in prison Thursday, prosecutors said.

Peter Manfredonia, 26, was sentenced by a judge in Rockville for the 2020 killing of Theodore DeMers, 62, and the wounding of another man, Tolland State’s Attorney Matthew C. Gedansky said in a statement.

Manfredonia attacked the men at random on May 22, 2020, in Willington, in northeastern Connecticut. Another man was held hostage for over 24 hours at his home before Manfredonia fled in that victim's truck.

Two days later, Manfredonia, then a University of Connecticut student, fatally shot Nicholas Eisele, 23, in Derby and kidnapped Eisele’s girlfriend. She was later released in New Jersey.

Manfredonia was sentenced Wednesday to 55 years in prison in court in Milford for those crimes, Gedansky said.

The two sentences will be served concurrently, meaning the effective sentence is 55 years total, prosecutors said.

The killings and assaults sparked a multistate manhunt during which his parents urged him to surrender.

The manhunt ended almost a week later when Manfredonia was arrested at a truck stop in Maryland on May 27, 2020.

“This was a horrific crime that shattered so many lives,” Margaret E. Kelley, the state's attorney for the Ansonia and Milford district, said in a statement Wednesday.

Manfredonia pleaded guilty in both cases. He apologized in court both Wednesday and Thursday.

“There are no words that can possibly atone for what I have done. Know that I am sorry nonetheless,” he said to DeMers’ family Thursday. “You have done nothing to deserve the pain that I have caused. My actions were nothing short of reprehensible. I do not expect forgiveness for my actions, and I will regret them every day for the rest of my life.”

Manfredonia’s lawyer, Michael Dolan, said Manfredonia has bipolar disease and anxiety and was having a psychotic episode at the time of the killings, The Associated Press reported.

DeMers’ widow, Cindy, told the judge she thinks Manfredonia deserves the death penalty. Connecticut abolished the death penalty in 2012.

"He was still alive when he was taken away, but he never came home," she said, according to the AP. "My husband’s life was stolen from him viciously. Life as I knew it stolen from me. My world as I knew it came to an end."

Manfredonia pleaded guilty to murder, first-degree assault and home invasion in the Willington case.

He pleaded guilty to murder and kidnapping in the first degree with a firearm in the Derby case.