City owes Gerald Manning an apology and a check!

   The almost criminal actions of four former detectives in the Monroe Police Department resulted in Gerald Manning losing 41 years of his life. We think the City owes Manning a formal apology and some type of compensation for the deceptive actions its detectives took that led to his wrongful imprisonment.

   Manning was released from prison last month after serving 41 years in prison for crimes he did not commit. His arrest, prosecution and 41 year persecution began with the four detectives in the Monroe Police Department, continued with an overzealous prosecutor, and a District Attorney interested in advancing his political career at any costs.

   In 1977 the local community was inundated with a series of rapes that the police department could not solve. Their inability to arrest a suspect made the law enforcement community appear impotent.

   Manning was first arrested for what the police viewed as a highly improbable charge of raping his 60-year-old next door neighbor at knife point. At first the police laughed when the woman accused 17 year old Manning of raping her because her story seemed ridiculously contrived.

   However, while they questioned Manning about the woman’s accusations, they happened to ask him about the rape and murder of Vonda Harris, and several other unsolved rapes. To their surprise, Manning, after being assured that nothing would happen to him, confessed to them all.

   The four detectives discovered Manning was mentally vulnerable to suggestion and they had a way to clear the books on the growing number of unsolved rapes. They suggested to Manning that he killed Vonda Harris and that he also committed all of their unsolved rapes.   

   There are people who have a mental disorder that makes them feel they must agree to whatever people in authority tell them. That was Manning’s mental state in 1977 and detectives took advantage of that and influenced him to make three confessions on the Harris murder. The confessions conflicted with the evidence, included others that they knew were innocent and enough inconsistencies for them to know that Manning was saying whatever they told him, but had nothing to do with any of the cases they pinned on him.

    They dumped every open rape case on Manning which contributed to his indictment.

    The DA and prosecutors tried him twice on the 60 year old lady case. They got a hung jury the first time and lowered the charge so they could get a conviction the second time. Then they used the first conviction to taint the jury pool in the Harris trial. The state never told the jury about his multiple confessions, withheld evidence from the jury that Manning had also confessed to rapes that even the victims said he did not commit and withheld other evidence. Based on what they saw in front of them, the jury found him guilty.

     The intentional framing of Mr. Manning by four detectives and the District Attorney’s office cost him 41 years of his life. Had it not been for DNA evidence that finally proved his innocence, he would have died in jail.

      Former District Attorney Jerry Jones and current District Attorney Steve Tew were not responsible for the wrongs against Manning, but they worked to make it right.

      The City of Monroe needs to step up to the plate and at least do two things: Apologize to him for stealing 41 years of his life and give him some type of compensation for the 41 years he lost. 

      The irony of Manning’s situation is that while DNA exonerated him for the Harris murder,  he also served time for the fake forcible rape of the 60-year-old lady.

       To cover itself, the state arranged for Manning to substitute several crimes he did not do, for the 60-year old lady conviction. It’s called an “Alford” plea. It’s a deal where the defendant gets to say on the record that he’s pleading guilty to something he didn’t do so he can finally be released. The Alford deal means the state doesn’t apologize to him and he doesn’t get paid for all of those years.

        Manning plead guilty to breaking and entering, receiving stolen things and aggravated battery. These were crimes he did not do and had never been charged with committing. He was given “time served” as a sentence for committing them.  He was cleared of the Harris murder and the 60 year old lady rape charge.
       However, since Manning did plead guilty to something, the state doesn’t admit any blame for his 41 years in jail and doesn’t have to pay him $25,000 a year for the 41 years he was wrongfully imprisoned.
      The four detectives who manufactured the fake charges served until retirement.
      The prosecutor went on to become a judge and has retired.
      The DA has since died but lived to a ripe old prosperous age.
      No one has to pay for the 41 years stolen from Manning. He is free, but without an education, a retirement, or any finances to maintain himself.
      In a perfect world, the City of Monroe would give Mr. Manning both an apology and a check to help him out. It’s the least that it can do, after stealing 41 years of the man’s life.
      We feel the city stole this man’s life and dreams, it owes him an apology and a check.