P.G. po­lice of­fi­cer guilty of mur­der

In­volved in plot to mur­der wo­man over cus­tody dis­pute

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

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.

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