P.G. police officer guilty of murder
Involved in plot to murder woman over custody dispute
After week-long tri- al, a jury found Prince George’s County police officer Richard Travess Conway guilty of mur- der and attempted mur- der on Wednesday in Charles County Circuit Court, holding him crim- inally liable as an accomplice of his mother who shot two, killing one.
Conway, 27, a patrol officer with the Prince George’s Police Department, had been on unpaid leave from the agency and held without bond after he was 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 ex- change outside a Waldorf Mc- Donald’s in May 2015, court proceedings showed. Robert died from multiple gunshot wounds to his upper body after he tried to grab the gun as they were accosted inside their vehicle, while Krystal, who was 7 months pregnant at the time, was shot once and survived.
In December, Caroline Conway, whose defense team claimed she had been experi- encing a psychotic dissociative episode at the time, was found guilty and criminally responsi- ble for the act following a two week jury trial.
The Conways, prosecutors said, were motivated by a heated, ongoing custody bat- tle, Richard’s obsession with getting back at Krystal and Caroline’s obsession of her grandchildren. Together, they contrived a murder plot that was to be carried out by Car- oline and assisted by Richard.
The jury returned its verdict around 5 p.m. on Wednesday: not guilty of first-degree mur- der and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, but guilty of second-degree murder, first-degree attempted murder, as well as several other charges, including four counts of reckless endangerment for the risk posed to the occupants of the cars hit by stray bullets.
State’s Attorney Anthony Covington (D) and assistant state’s attorney Francis Granados had explained the concept of “accomplice liabili- ty” to the jurors, that Richard Conway did not have to be present during the shooting to be equally as guilty as the principal perpetrator. The jury ultimately found that he had knowingly aided, assisted or encouraged the commission of the crime.
Richard Conway elected not to testify during the trial. Defense attorney C.T. Wilson had argued that Richard had no prior knowledge of his mother’s intent to shoot the Mang- es and should not be held ac- countable as an accomplice. Instead, he said, Richard was an “accessory after the fact,” a lesser criminal offense that the state did not pursue.
Wilson is also a Charles County delegate to the Mary- land General Assembly.
As the state saw it, on May 20, 2015, Richard Conway 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, hooded and gloved, 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 under the pretext that he needed it for a high level narcotics investigation. 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 identified Caroline Conway as her shooter to first responders, the Conway residence on Guildford Drive was cordoned off by police. Meanwhile, Richard and Car- oline went to the courthouse and tried to contact Krystal, an attempt to live out their al- ibi. Richard later returned to the home on Guildford Drive and identified himself and his mother, and both were taken in for questioning.
“The jury was obviously very thoughtful, looked at all the evidence, and they came out with a verdict that we certainly respect and accept,” Covington said. “They had a very difficult task in this case because the Conways, they did a lot to try to cover up his involvement and their involvement all together. So it was a lot of stuff to get through, but we think they came up with the just result.”
“Without all the work that the sheriff’s office did to get behind the lies and figure out what really happened, there’s no way in the world we would be able to hold him accountable,” Covington added. “My hats off to all the detectives that worked on it and patrols officers. They really did a great job on this case.”
Caroline Conway is scheduled to be sentenced on March 24. Richard’s sentencing date has been set for April 21. Both face possible life imprisonment.