Tes­ti­mony con­tin­ues in 2015 mur­der trial

P.G. po­lice of­fi­cer’s in­ter­view with de­tec­tive viewed by ju­rors

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

The pros­e­cu­tors are con­tin­u­ing to build their case against Richard Travess Con­way, a Prince Ge­orge’s county po­lice of­fi­cer ac­cused of con­spir­ing with his mother to mur­der his ex-girl­friend and her hus­band.

Con­way, 27, was ar- rested and charged with first-de­gree mur­der and at­tempted mur­der a few days af­ter his mother, Caro­line Con­way, 52, shot his ex-girl­friend, Krys­tal Mange, 25, and her hus­band Robert Mange, 25, at what was sup­posed to be a cus­tody ex­change out­side a Wal- dorf McDon­ald’s in May 2015. Robert died from mul­ti­ple gun­shot wounds to his up­per body af­ter try­ing to grab the gun as they were ac­costed in­side their ve­hi­cle, while Krys­tal was shot once and sur­vived. In De­cem­ber, Caro­line Con­way, whose de­fense team claimed she had been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a psy­chotic dis­so­cia­tive episode at the time, was found guilty and crim­i­nally re­spon­si­ble for the act fol­low­ing a two week jury trial.

With Judge Erik Nyce pre­sid­ing, Charles County State’s At­tor­ney An­thony Cov­ing­ton (D) and as­sis­tant state’s at­tor­ney Fran­cis Grana­dos were con­tin­u­ing to call wit­nesses as of press time Tues­day morn­ing. Richard Con­way is be­ing rep­re­sented by de­fense at­tor­neys C.T. Wil­son and

Michael Adams.

As the state sees it, on May 20, 2015, Richard Con­way al­legedly dropped off his mother near the McDon­ald’s on Mall Cir­cle in Wal­dorf where the Manges were wait­ing in­side their Jeep for Richard to drop off Krys­tal’s two chil­dren in com­mon, ac­cord­ing to pro­ceed­ings. Around 5:45 p.m., Caro­line got into the car and at gun­point forced Krys­tal Mange to call Richard and change the pickup to the La Plata court­house at 7:30 p.m. Then, af­ter Robert went for the gun, Caro­line shot him sev­eral times in the park­ing lot be­fore turn­ing the gun on Krys­tal, shoot­ing her once in her side ab­domen.

The pros­e­cu­tors be­lieve Richard was wait­ing nearby to pick up Caro­line af­ter she called him on a pre-paid cell phone he had per­suaded a teenager to buy for him. With the kids in the car, the two then went to an old fam­ily friend’s house where Caro­line changed clothes, and they dis­carded the phone, cloth­ing, and Richard’s agency-is­sued hand­gun into a trash bag, a scene cap­tured by a home sur­veil­lance sys­tem. Af­ter Krys­tal iden­ti­fies Caro­line Con­way as her shooter to first re­spon­ders, the Con­way res­i­dence on Guild­ford Drive was cor­doned off by po­lice. Mean­while, Richard and Caro­line went to the court­house, and tried to con­tact Krys­tal. The pros­e­cu­tors said this was an at­tempt to live out their al­ibi. Richard lat- er re­turned to the home on Guild­ford Drive and iden­ti­fies him­self and his mother, and both were taken in for ques­tion­ing.

Det. Jack Austin was called to tes­tify on Mon­day, tes­ti­mony that would re­quire the en­tire day as the jury watched a video of the de­tec­tive in­ter- view­ing Richard Con­way hours af­ter the in­ci­dent. Dur­ing the two and a half hour in­ter­view, Richard spoke with­out an at­tor- ney present and gave con­flict­ing ac­counts. Richard told Det. Austin that he, Caro­line, and the kids had gone to a pic­nic ear­lier in the day, then an ap­point­ment for his son be­fore re­turn­ing home.

Around 4:45 p.m., Caro­line went on a walk, which she of­ten does, Richard said in the in­ter­view.

Around 5:30-5:40 p.m., Richard said he left the house with the chil­dren to meet the Manges at the McDon­ald’s. His mother had not re­turned yet.

En route, he said he got the call from Krys­tal about chang­ing the meet up to the court­house, and af­ter hear­ing that, he “started driv­ing on back- roads be­cause I was try­ing to kill some time” and de­cided to look for his mother be­cause he knew the gen­eral area where she likes to walk, and said he found her walk­ing on Co­p­ley Av­enue.

“You and I both know we’re go­ing to be able to dis­prove your ac­count … and that’s ul­ti­mately go­ing to get you charged,” Austin told Richard in the in­ter­view.

“I don’t know what she did. I don’t know what she didn’t do,” Richard said dur­ing the in­ter­view. “I swear I’m not try­ing to pro­tect her.”

How­ever, the de­tec­tive made it clear that he did not be­lieve him. Af­ter Austin tells him, “A man is dead … and [she] is cling­ing onto life,” Richard ap­pears to dry heave into a trash can.

Af­ter the de­tec­tive left the room and came back, Richard ad­mit­ted to ly­ing about pick­ing her up on Co­p­ley Av­enue in an at- tempt to pro­tect her, and said he ac­tu­ally picked her up on Old Wash­ing­ton Road, closer to the shoot­ing. He went on to ex­plain that he was scared, and “she wouldn’t even look at me” and “I didn’t ask any­thing be­cause I didn’t want to know,” and that the call from Krys­tal gave him an un­easy feel­ing.

“I know I al­ready [ex- plicit] up with ly­ing,” Richard said. When asked why he lied, he replied, “Be­cause I was try- ing to pro­tect her … I was try­ing to place her away from the scene … I didn’t ask what hap­pened. I didn’t want to know.”

Richard said they then be­gan “driv­ing around in gen­eral … to try to get her mind off what’s both­er­ing her” be­fore the 7:30 p.m. meet up at the court- house. In the court­house park­ing lot, he said he then tried to call and text Krys­tal, and left af­ter wait- ing for about 10 min­utes. They stopped at Tar­get so one of the kids could go to the bath­room, he said, and then re­turned home to find a po­lice perime­ter had been formed around his house.

When the de­tec­tive still did not seem to be­lieve his story, Richard said, “I hate that woman with every fiber of my be­ing, and I hate that man even more,” but I could never wish that on any­one.

At one point the de­tec­tive pointed out that Caro­line had on a yel­low shirt when she was ar­rested, not a black one like Richard had said ini­tially. Richard then ex­plained that she must have had a change of clothes in the car and changed her shirt while he was in­side a gas sta­tion. He said he didn’t think any- thing of it at the time.

Although the home sur­veil­lance footage has not been pub­lished yet to the ju­rors, the pros­e­cu­tors promised in open­ing ar- gu­ments that they would see a video that de­picts the Con­ways at an old fam­ily friend’s house shortly af­ter the shoot- ing. Pros­e­cu­tors say Caro­line later emerged from the house with a dif­fer­ent shirt, and she and Richard are both seen han­dling a trash bag that they brought in­side the car with them, never to be seen again.

Dur­ing his in­ter­view, Richard made no men­tion of ever stop­ping by any­one’s house.

The jury also heard tes­ti­mony from a boy, then 16, who bought the pre-paid cell­phone for Richard. He tes­ti­fied that Richard said he needed it for a high level nar­cotics in­ves­ti­ga­tion he was work­ing.

FBI spe­cial agent Rich Fen­ner, an ex­pert wit­ness in his­tor­i­cal cel­lu­lar record anal­y­sis, tes­ti­fied that Richard re­ceived two phone calls from the pre-paid cell phone within four min­utes of the shoot­ing, and pre­sented a map that de­picts the gen­eral area of each phone and the key lo­ca­tions of the case. The in­com­ing calls lasted 54 sec­onds and 142 sec­onds, re­spec­tively.

Ex­pert wit­ness Su­san Kim, a Mary­land State Po­lice firearm and tool mark ex­am­iner, tes­ti­fied that the shell cas­ings found at the scene of the McDon­ald’s match the test fir­ings from Richard’s agency-is­sued hand­gun.

The trial is on­go­ing.

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