Mother stands trial for shoot­ing mur­der

Con­way charged with killing man us­ing her son’s po­lice weapon

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By AN­DREW RICHARD­SON arichard­son@somd­news.com

A woman ac­cused of shoot­ing two peo­ple, killing one, dur­ing what was sup­posed to be a cus­tody ex­change out- side a Wal­dorf McDon­ald’s last year is on trial this week in Charles County Cir­cuit Court.

Caro­line Marie Con­way, 52, of Wal­dorf is charged with first-de­gree mur­der and at- tempted mur­der for al­legedly shoot­ing Robert Mange, 25, and Krys­tal Mange, 25, the mother of her son’s two chil­dren, in May 2015. Robert Mange died soon af­ter at a nearby hospi­tal while Krys­tal sur­vived, ac­cord­ing to pre­vi­ous re­ports.

Around 5:45 p.m. on

May 20, 2015, deputies of the Charles County Sher- iff’s Of­fice re­sponded to the McDon­ald’s park­ing lot lo­cated on Mall Cir- cle in Wal­dorf and found the two vic­tims suf­fer­ing from gun­shot wounds, court pro­ceed­ings indi- cated. Caro­line Con­way was ar­rested later that night af­ter she had been iden­ti­fied as the shooter by one of the vic­tims.

The de­fen­dant’s son, Prince Ge­orge’s County po­lice of­fi­cer Richard Travess Con­way, 26, was ar­rested and charged with mur­der a few days af­ter the shoot­ing when in­ves­ti­ga­tors dis­cov­ered that he had re­port­edly con­spired with his mother to kill the Manges, mo­ti­vated by a heated and on­go­ing cus­tody bat­tle, ac­cord­ing to au­thor­i­ties and court pro­ceed­ings.

Po­lice said they found sev­eral .40 cal­iber shell cas­ings on the scene which matched the am- mu­ni­tion is­sued by the Prince Ge­orge’s County Po­lice De­part­ment. Po­lice also found Richard Con­way had re­port­edly per­suaded a teenager to pur­chase a pre-paid cell phone on his be­half a few weeks be­fore the shoot- ing, pre­tend­ing he needed it for an un­der­cover nar­cotics in­ves­ti­ga­tion, and said Caro­line used that same cell phone minutes af­ter the shoot- ing to call Richard to pick her up.

With Judge Steven Platt pre­sid­ing, State’s At­tor- ney An­thony Cov­ing­ton and as­sis­tant state’s at- tor­ney Fran­cis Grana­dos were con­tin­u­ing to call wit­nesses to the stand as of press time Tues­day af­ter­noon. Caro­line Con­way is rep­re­sented by de­fense at­tor­neys James E. Farmer and Melvin Allen Jr.

“This was a cold, cal­cu­lated, planned mur­der,” Grana­dos said dur­ing open­ing state­ments. The pros­e­cu­tor told the jury that they will hear from wit­nesses that af­ter Caro­line Con­way shot the Mange cou­ple, she “walks away as cool as a cu­cum­ber.”

Grana­dos also played an au­dio record­ing cap­tured by an of­fi­cer who had been one of the first to ar­rive at the shoot­ing. As Of­fi­cer Sa­muel Hooper tends to her wounds, he asked who shot her. “My ex’s mom, Caro­line Con­way,” she replied, cry­ing.

The shoot­ing, Grana- dos ex­plained, was a vi­o­lent cul­mi­na­tion af­ter a long and pro­tracted cus­tody bat­tle be­tween Richard Con­way and Krys­tal Mange. In 2013, Krys­tal left Richard and moved to Vir­ginia with their two shared chil­dren, and a vis­i­ta­tion sched­ule was es­tab­lished, ac­cord­ing to court pro­ceed­ings. Richard and Caro­line Con­way made sev­eral al­le­ga­tions against the Mange cou­ple, start­ing with child ne­glect, then phys­i­cal abuse, and then child sex­ual abuse — un­founded ac­cu­sa­tions made in hope of win­ning sole cus­tody, he said.

“Not a shred of evi- dence to back it up. It was a lie,” Grana­dos ex- plained. “But they used that claim, they re­lied on it to win the cus­tody bat- tle.”

On May 20, 2015, the Con­ways and Manges were con­tacted by a case worker with the De­part- ment of So­cial Ser­vices, Grana­dos said, in­form- ing both sides that their in­ves­ti­ga­tion yielded no ev­i­dence or in­di­ca­tion of any wrong­do­ing and that vis­i­ta­tion was to re­sume that day.

Caro­line Con­way went to the meet-up lo­ca­tion at the McDon­ald’s on Mall Cir­cle in Wal­dorf, got into their back­seat and drew a hand­gun, Grana- dos said. She then forced Krys­tal to call Richard to change the cus­tody ex­change lo­ca­tion to the court­house park­ing lot in La Plata at 7:30 p.m. Grana­dos said the move was an at­tempt to set up an al­ibi for Richard Con­way.

Af­ter hang­ing up the phone, Robert Mange tried to grab for the gun, Grana­dos said. She be­gan fir­ing the hand­gun, and Robert was shot mul­ti­ple times. Krys­tal tried to run but is shot once in the side of her ab­domen.

“She wasn’t crazy,” Grana­dos said. “She was cold and cal­cu­lated,” adding that the de­fense was go­ing to say that Caro­line was not crim­i­nally re­spon­si­ble.

Allen ad­dressed the jury and told them that the pros­e­cu­tors were not telling the whole story.

“You must un­der­stand the men­tal state of Car- oline Con­way,” he said. “You must un­der­stand the psy­cho­log­i­cal state of Caro­line Con­way on this day.”

Allen said that Caro­line Con­way had suf­fered a se­ries of trau­matic events in her life, be­gin­ning at age 2 when her fa­ther was mur­dered and she was sep­a­rated from her fam­ily, and later en­dured sex­ual abuse at her new home.

Caro­line Con­way was very close to her grand­chil­dren, Allen ex­plained, and one of them had told her that he was “scared to go to my mom’s house,” that “bad things hap­pen at mom’s home.”

Allen told the jury that they would hear tes­ti­mony from two doc­tors in this case, one called by the state, and one who will ex­plain how some­one ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a “psy­chotic dis­so­cia­tive episode” can ap­pear nor­mal.

“We all re­gret that any loss of life oc­curred,” Allen said. “… You will see how the men­tal state of a grandma can be bro­ken in such a cir­cum­stance.”

The trial was on­go­ing as of press time Tues­day af­ter­noon.

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