Updated: January 20, 2014 8:20AM
ST. CHARLES — For the second time in four years, a Kane County jury convicted Arthur Manning of murdering a man in St. Charles in 2008.
Jurors on Wednesday needed less than two hours to find the 62-year-old Manning guilty of stabbing Naromi Mannery outside the West Main Street building where Manning and other Windy City Amusements workers lived.
Prosecutors said Mannery suffered a fatal stab wound to the chest during an altercation involving Manning and two other men. Manning’s attorney contended the case was a matter of self defense. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 7 before Judge Susan Clancy Boles.
Manning was previously convicted of Mannery’s death in 2009, but an appellate court ruling overturned the guilty verdict due to issues with jury instructions relating to self-defense and a possible second-degree murder finding. Attorneys worked Wednesday morning to craft instructions the current jury of seven women and five men would use to guide their deliberations. Kane County Assistant State’s Attorney Greg Sams meticulously explained aspects of those instructions as part of a closing argument in which he also painted Manning as someone who never suggested to police he felt in danger when he stabbed Mannery.
“You don’t plunge a knife into someone’s chest without intent to kill,” Sams said. “Self defense protects an individual, it does not protect an individual’s pride.”
In a portion of the argument Sams called “Arthur Manning’s greatest hits,” he played video clips from a police interview where Manning said he stabbed Mannery out of anger after he punched him and that two other men — his brother, Guy, and Willie Wimberly — tried to stop him from “doing what he wanted to do.” Further attacking any notion of self defense, Sams pointed out Manning went into his residence to ask Guy for a knife and was initially rebuffed by his brother. He also pointed out that no evidence indicated Mannery punched Manning, as he had claimed to police.
“I don’t like to stop until someone goes to the hospital or to the graveyard,” Manning said on the video, a moment highlighted by Sams.
Manning’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Michael Tatman, focused his argument on the testimony of Darren Barnett, who met Mannery earlier that September 2008 night. Mannery, who Tatman referred to as “this man,” refused to leave the Windy City residence despite being told to numerous times, Tatman said. He called Mannery a “furious drunk” who became belligerent toward Barnett, Manning and others. Things escalated to the point Wimberly took a swing at Mannery, setting off a fight in which Mannery went after Guy Manning, who then hit Mannery twice with a chair, Tatman said.
“He was going to fight with anyone who told him to leave,” Tatman told jurors. “He turns his attention toward Arthur and he attacked him. Put yourself in the moment and think about how this went down. We believe Arthur had every right to defend himself against this man.”
Tatman spoke of Mannery’s wounds, one each to his chest, back and arm, as a sign Manning was flailing wildly to protect himself with the knife. He called Mannery’s chest wound an “unlucky blow” for Manning.
Sams countered Tatman by reminding jurors that Manning spent the first five minutes of the recorded interview denying any involvement in the incident. Later, in a second interview before being charged with murder, Manning told another investigator he figured to be looking at a life sentence for what happened to Mannery.
Manning, who was sentenced to 29 years in prison before the previous conviction was overturned, remains held in Kane County Jail.