Former UConn student pleads guilty to 2020 murder  

Peter Manfredonia appeared in front of the Rockville Superior Court on and plead guilty to murder charges from May 2020 as well as charges raised against him. Photo by

Peter Manfredonia, a 26-year-old former University of Connecticut student from Newtown, Connecticut, has pleaded guilty to murder, home invasion and first-degree assault, according to a recent press release from the state’s Division of Criminal Justice. 

“Matthew C. Gedansky, Tolland State’s Attorney, announced that Peter Manfredonia, age 26, of Newtown, pleaded guilty today in Rockville Superior Court to Murder in violation of Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-54a, Assault in the First Degree in violation of Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-59(a) and Home Invasion in violation of Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-100(a)(a),” reads the press release. 

Manfredonia made his plea in Rockville Superior Court Wednesday, almost three years after he was arrested for killing 62-year-old Theodore DeMers, wounding 80-year-old John Franco and invading a Willington residence while also holding the homeowner hostage on May 22, 2020. 

According to Connecticut Public, Manfredonia had killed DeMers and wounded Franco with a samurai sword. The severely wounded man “lost several fingers and part of his ear” in the attack. 

During the home invasion in Willington, Manfredonia held the homeowner hostage for a total of 24 hours, also according to Connecticut Public. After the 24 hours were up, Manfredonia apparently left the residence in his truck and with firearms. 

Manfredonia faces a 55-year prison sentence and is scheduled to appear at Rockville Superior Court on Apr. 20, according to Connecticut’s DCJ. 

Additional charges for which Manfredonia is being prosecuted include the killing of 23-year-old Nicholas Eisele and kidnapping of Eisele’s girlfriend on May 24, 2020. Both incidents took place in Derby, Connecticut. However, Eisele’s girlfriend was later found unharmed at a rest stop in New Jersey, the press release states. 

Manfredonia is expected to appear in Milford Superior Court for those charges on Thursday, Feb. 16. 

According to a statement from university spokesperson Stephanie Reitz on May 23, 2020 (when the case was still under investigation), Manfredonia had been an engineering student completing his senior year at UConn after enrolling in 2015. 

Reitz also stated that Manfredonia was not taking any courses at the time of the incidents, nor was he living on campus. 

In a separate statement from former UConn President Tom Katsouleas, just days after Reitz’s statement, he wrote that the university had been assisting the Connecticut State Police with their search for Manfredonia. 

At the time of the investigation in May 2020, Manfredonia ended up leaving the state and was eventually captured six days later in Maryland, according to the press release. 

“Following the crimes, Manfredonia fled Connecticut,” the press release said. “Local, state and federal authorities captured him in Maryland after a six-day search.” 

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