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Paul Michael McMANUS





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Parricide
Number of victims: 3
Date of murders: February 26, 2001
Date of arrest: Same day (suicide attempt)
Date of birth: July 14, 1972
Victims profile: His estranged wife Melissa McManus, 29, and their daughters Lindsey, 8, and Shelby, 23 months
Method of murder: Shooting (.38 handgun)
Location: Vanderburgh County, Indiana, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on June 5, 2002



DOB: 07-14-72
DOC: #108001 White Male

Vanderburgh County Circuit Court
Judge Carl A. Heldt

Prosecutor: Stanley M. Levco, Steven A. Hunt

Defense: Glenn A. Grampp, Mitchell Rothman

Date of Murder: February 26, 2001

Melissa McManus W/F/29 (wife)
Lindsey McManus W/F/8 (daughter)
Shelby McManus W/F/23 months (daughter)

Method of Murder: Shooting with .38 handgun

Summary: McManus was separated from his wife, Melissa. His two daughters, Lindsay (8) and Shelby (23 months) lived with Melissa. Shelby was born with severe birth defects. Divorce papers were served on him at his mother's house on the day of the murders.

McManus took a taxi to his wife's residence and shot her once in the leg and 3 times in the head, killing her. He then shot 8 year old Lindsey 3 times in the head, then shot Shelby once in the head.

He then drove to the Henderson bridge between Indiana and Kentucky and climbed to the very top (the equivalent of 11 stories). Despite the best efforts of law enforcement to talk him down, he jumped into the Ohio River. Miraculously, he was rescued from the water with only minor back injuries.

An insanity defense was unsuccessfully presented at trial. McManus had told acquaintances the weekend before the murders to “watch the papers,” because he was going to “do something big.”

Conviction: Murder (3 counts)

Sentencing: June 5, 2002 (Death Sentence)

Aggravating Circumstances: b(12) Victims less than 12 years old; b(8) 3 Murders

Mitigating Circumstances: No significant prior criminal record, Depression and mental abnormalities, Irresistible impulse


McManus sentenced to die

A Vanderburgh Circuit Court Jury convicted Paul Michael McManus of three counts of murder on May 9, 2002, rejecting McManus's insanity defense.

McManus's attorneys, Glenn A. Grampp of Evansvile and Mitchell B. Rothman of Tampa, Florida, never disputed that on February 26, 2001, McManus shot to death his estranged wife, Melissa McManus, and their two daughters, eight-year-old Lindsey and two-year-old Shelby in their home located at 4903 Tanglewood Drive in Vanderburgh County, Indiana. They asserted that he was legally insane when he shot his wife once in the leg and three times in the head, when he shot Lindsey three times in the back of her head, and when he shot Shelby once in the side of her head with a .38 caliber revolver.

After shooting his family, McManus drove Melissa's car to the Ohio River bridges between Evansville, Indiana, and Henderson, Kentucky, where he climbed to the top of the southbound bridge and eventually jumped into the river. He survived the jump and was pulled from the river and taken into custody and to a Henderson hospital for treatment.

Two psychiatrists appointed by the Court, Dr. Thomas Liffick and Dr. David Hilton testified that, in their opinions, at the time he killed his family McManus was not legally insane. Under Indiana law, a person is not legally responsible for his actions, if, as a result of mental disease or defect, he was unable to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct at the time of the offense.

A psychologist hired by the defense, Dr. Michael Gelbort from Joliet, Illinois, testified to his opinion that McManus was legally insane when he shot his wife and daughters. He testified that McManus was having an acute episode where he lost contact with reality at the time of the shootings.

Testimony at trial showed that McManus had made threats in the past that he was going to kill his whole family and commit suicide. The weekend before the shootings, McManus quit his job at a blliard parlor and told co-workers to watch the papers Monday for something big. Evidence at trial indicated that, on the day of the shootings, McManus went to his brother's house and took a .38 caliber revolver, and went to a gun shop and purchased .38 caliber ammunition after asking for the cheapest kind.

On Friday, May 10, 2002, after hearing evidence and arguments of counsel in the penalty phase of the trial, the jury recommended to Judge Carl Heldt that he sentence McManus to death.

On June 5, 2002, Judge Heldt followed the recommendation of the jury and sentenced McManus to death "in the manner prescribed by law", which is by lethal injection. The Court appointed Public Defenders John Brinson and Timothy Dodd to represent McManus in his appeal to the Indiana Supreme Court. On August 31, 2004, the Indiana Supreme Court affirmed the conviction and sentencing of McManus.


Paul Michael McManus



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