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Ex-UConn senior sentenced for shooting his high school classmate to death and kidnapping victim’s girlfriend

Peter Manfredonia with his attorney Michael Dolan on April 19, 2023. (Ned Gerard/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP, Pool)

Peter Manfredonia with his attorney Michael Dolan on April 19, 2023. (Ned Gerard/Hearst Connecticut Media via AP, Pool)

A 26-year-old Connecticut man will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars after a judge sentenced him to more than half of a century in prison for fatally shooting his high school friend and kidnapping the victim’s girlfriend during a 2020 crime spree that included another victim who was killed with a sword.

Milford Superior Court Judge Peter Brown on Wednesday ordered Peter Manfredonia to serve a sentence of 55 years in a state correctional facility for killing 23-year-old Nicholas Eisele and then kidnapping the man’s girlfriend, Shannon Spies.

“This was a horrific crime that shattered so many lives,” Ansonia-Milford State’s Attorney Margaret E. Kelley said . “The pain and anguish suffered by Ms. Spies and the family of Nicholas John Eisele is unfathomable. His family and Ms. Spies worked thoughtfully with the state to achieve this disposition.”

The sentences for Eisele’s murder and Spies’ kidnapping will be served concurrently, the prosecutor’s statement said.

Manfredonia still must be sentenced for other wrongdoing in the crime spree: murdering 62-year-old Theodore DeMers with a samurai sword, wounding an 80-year-old man, and then holding a homeowner hostage. That hearing is to be held Thursday.

Eisele’s aunt told Manfredonia in a victim impact statement on Wednesday that “there’s a place in Hell for you Peter,” according to News 12 Connecticut reporter Marissa Alter.

Manfredonia reportedly apologized to the family but said he did not expect them to accept it.

Authorities said the defendant, a former University of Connecticut student, committed the acts as part of a sprawling multi-state crime spree.

On May 22, 2020, Manfredonia’s motorcycle broke down in Willington, Connecticut. DeMers offered him a ride; Manfredonia, in turn, attacked him. The victim’s 80-year-old neighbor tried to help save him, but Manfredonia attacked him too. He then held a local homeowner hostage for 24 hours.

“I asked if he wants to talk about what took place with the murder and he told me that he hadn’t slept for five days and he just flipped,” the homeowner said of Manfredonia, according to cops in a News-Times report. “He said he didn’t know why he did it and that he was remorseful for it.”

But authorities said Manfredonia fled with that homeowner’s truck and firearms to Eisele’s home in the city of Derby, Connecticut. Prosecutors said he fatally shot Eisele, a former classmate from high school, and kidnapped Spies.

“Court records show Manfredonia fled Connecticut with the girlfriend and held her captive at gunpoint for more than seven hours before authorities found her unharmed at a rest stop in New Jersey,” authorities said. “Local, state and federal authorities searched for Manfredonia before arresting him in Maryland on May 27, 2020.”

Spies mourned Eisele, saying that he “will forever be remembered as a loving, protective boyfriend, but also a hero,” according to The Connecticut Post in a July 2020 report.

Jerry Lambe contributed to this report.

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