Con­way found guilty, crim­i­nally re­spon­si­ble for mur­der, shoot­ing

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By ANDREW RICHARD­SON arichard­son@somd­

Af­ter de­lib­er­at­ing for about 15 hours over the span of three days, the jury found Caro­line Con- way guilty and crim­i­nal- ly re­spon­si­ble Tues­day morn­ing for shoot­ing two, killing one, dur­ing what was sup­posed to be a cus- tody ex­change out­side a Wal­dorf McDon­ald’s last year.

Con­way, 52, of Wal­dorf was found guilty of first-de­gree mur­der and at­tempted mur­der for 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.

The de­fen­dant’s son, Prince Ge­orge’s Coun- ty po­lice of­fi­cer Richard Travess Con­way, 27, awaits his trial which has been resched­uled for Jan­uary. He was ar­rested and charged with mur- der a few days af­ter the shoot­ing when in­ves­tiga- tors dis­cov­ered that he had re­port­edly con­spired with his mother to kill the Manges, mo­ti­vated by a heated and on­go­ing cus- tody bat­tle.

“We’re ob­vi­ously grati- fied that the jury saw the ev­i­dence for what it was, and they came back with what we think is the just ver­dict,” said State’s At­tor- ney An­thony Cov­ing­ton (D), “… the fact that she was crim­i­nally re­spon- sible, that she did knew what she was do­ing.”

Cov­ing­ton com­mended the work of as­sis­tant state’s at­tor­ney Fran­cis Grana­dos and spoke highly of the po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tors.

“First and fore­most, Fran Grana­dos did a fan- tas­tic job putting this case to­gether,” Cov­ing­ton said. “Yes, I was a part of the team as well, but trust me, I was along for the ride ... He’s a very tal­ented at­tor- ney and the county is real- ly lucky to have him in our of­fice.”

“The po­lice in this case, they went to the ends of the earth to find some of the ev­i­dence that was cru­cial, crit­i­cal to prov- ing this case,” he con­tin- ued. “I can’t say enough about the job of de­tec­tive [John] El­liot, who was the lead in­ves­ti­ga­tor, de- tec­tive [Chris] Shankster and de­tec­tive [Jack] Aus- tin in this case. They just did great jobs in mak­ing sure all this ev­i­dence was found.”

Since the mur­der weapon was never re­cov­ered, two de­tec­tives had to drive to Ken­tucky to re­cover the test fir­ings from Richard Con­way’s ser­vice weapon, which had been found in the orig­i­nal fac- tory-sealed pack­ag­ing, ac­cord­ing to pro­ceed­ings. The unique set of mark- ings on the test fir­ings matched the shell cas­ings re­cov­ered from the scene, in­di­cat­ing both had been fired from the same gun. When Richard’s agen- cy-is­sued hand­gun was re­placed in 2014, his old one was sold and resold mul­ti­ple times with the test fir­ings from the new gun still in­side its case.

De­spite the un­fa­vor­able ver­dict, de­fense at­tor­ney James E. Farmer main- tains that Caro­line Con- way had been in a psy- chotic state at the time, trig­gered by the fear that her grand­child was be­ing sex­u­ally abused by a friend of the Manges.

“She tried to hold it to­gether for as long as she pos­si­bly could, and I ab­so­lutely be­lieve that on May 20, 2015, that was the trig­ger that pushed her over the edge,” he said, “that [in­di­vid­ual] … was go­ing to go back and have ac­cess to these chil­dren, and they had no other way to pro­tect them.”

If he can find a le­gal way, Farmer said he plans to sue the Vir­gin- ia Depart­ment of So­cial Ser­vices, call­ing its in- ves­ti­ga­tion “fraud­u­lent” and a “sham,” not­ing that Krys­tal Mange tes­ti­fied that she had lied to DSS in­ves­ti­ga­tors about where she had lived at the time, and a con­flict of in­ter­est be­tween her mother and a DSS of­fi­cial who knew each other.

“We re­spect the jury’s de­ci­sion,” Farmer added, “The jury had a tough de- ci­sion to make … We gave them some­thing to think about.”

Called by the de­fense last week, Dr. Bethany Brand opined that Car- oline Con­way was not crim­i­nally re­spon­si­ble due to her com­pro­mised men­tal sta­tus at the time of the shoot­ing. Brand, a pro­fes­sor at Tow­son Uni- ver­sity who spe­cial­izes in clin­i­cal psy­chol­ogy and trauma-re­lated dis­or­ders, tes­ti­fied that Con­way had been in a “psy­chotic dis- so­cia­tive state” and could not “ap­pre­ci­ate the crimi- nal­ity of her con­duct.”

In April 2015, a month be­fore the shoot­ing, Caro­line Con­way had re­ported her sus­pi­cions to au­thor- ities that her grand­chil- dren were be­ing sex­u­ally abused while in the care of the Manges, ac­cord­ing to pro­ceed­ings. A sub­se­quent crim­i­nal in­ves­tiga- tion and depart­ment of so­cial ser­vices in­ves­ti­ga­tion both yielded no ev­i­dence of wrong­do­ing and were closed with un­founded dis­po­si­tions. The child of con­cern made no dis­clo­sures dur­ing a foren­sic in­ter view, nor at a mul­ti­tude of ther­apy ses­sions.

Hours be­fore the shoot­ing on May 20, 2015, the Con­ways were called by a DSS in­ves­ti­ga­tor and learned that the in­ves­ti­ga­tion was closed as un­founded, and that is what “trig­gered” Caro­line Con­way’s dis­so­cia­tive psy­chotic episode, Brand opined. Caro­line, she ex­plained, had suf­fered trauma from sex­ual abuse at the hands of a se­ries of babysit­ters be­gin­ning at age 2 af­ter her fa­ther was shot and killed in front of the fam­ily’s Chicago apart­ment.

The state’s re­but­tal wit­ness, Dr. Teresa Grant, an ex­pert psy­chol­o­gist and

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