Trial begins in case of overturned murder conviction
By Erika Wurst firstname.lastname@example.org December 16, 2013 5:38PM
Updated: January 18, 2014 6:13AM
Former carnival worker Arthur Manning’s fate was all but sealed in 2009, when he was convicted and sentenced to 29 years in prison for the murder of Naromi Mannery in St. Charles.
But, when his conviction was overturned by the 2nd District Appellate Court two years later, that seal ripped wide open.
On Monday, Manning’s new trial began, based on the appellate court’s decision that an error occurred during the jury instruction portion of Manning’s first trial.
Manning’s attorneys argued that now-retired Kane County Judge Timothy Sheldon should have instructed jurors to consider a second-degree murder conviction based on self-defense, but that Sheldon only gave the jury an option to find Manning guilty of second-degree murder for allegedly stabbing Mannery to death.
The appellate panel found Sheldon erred by not giving jurors a self-defense instruction.
“Generally, it is appropriate to instruct the jury on defense theories supported by the evidence at trial, even if it is only slight,” the appellate court said. “We find that there was slight evidence, as noted by (Sheldon), to support the giving of a self-defense instruction.”
Now, Manning will get a chance to retry his case in front of a new panel of jurors, hoping for a different outcome.
According to prosecutors, Manning was among three men charged in September 2008 with the murder of 28-year-old Mannery during a fight outside a home on West Main Street in St. Charles.
Manning told police he stabbed a drunken Mannery after he refused to leave the home owned by carnival company Windy City Amusement. Manning and several other men who worked for the carnival company lived at the home, including a man named Darren Barnett.
On the evening he died, Mannery met Darren Barnett as Barnett walked down the street in search of some beer. The two struck up a conversation, and Mannery followed Barnett back to the Main Street address.
When they arrived, Barnett said Mannery refused to leave.
That’s when Arthur Manning and two other men — Arthur’s brother, Guy Manning, and co-worker Willie Wimberly — confronted Mannery, who punched Manning and then hit him with a “football tackle,” according to court records.
“There was a scuffle. A fight,” Barnett told jurors.
He said when it ended, Mannery was bleeding profusely from his chest.
“Art told him he needed to go, before he got some more,” Barnett told jurors.
“I just stood there watching it happen,” he said.
When Mannery finally left, Barnett said he washed the victim’s blood from the concrete.
A short time later, a neighbor heard someone screaming for help, and saw a man collapsed on the sidewalk across the street from her home. She called police, who arrived on the scene to find the man clinging to life.
Mannery had been stabbed several times. He died a couple hour later at a local hospital, despite lifesaving efforts performed by paramedics and doctors.
Guy Manning and Wimberly each received an eight-year sentence for aggravated battery in connection to the murder.
Guy Manning and Wimberly have each completed their sentences, according to court records. A fourth man was charged with obstruction of justice after police learned he tried to wash Mannery’s blood off the sidewalk in front of the Windy City home.
Manning’s trial continues Tuesday at the Kane County Judicial Center in St. Charles.