MINNEAPOLIS - A New Hope man faces a possible 15 year prison sentence after being convicted in the 2011 murder of his longtime girlfriend.
Douglas Carl Manney, age 51, was found guilty of second degree unintentional murder by a Hennepin County jury Tuesday after just five hours of deliberation.
New Hope Police received a call from Kristeen Sandeen's sister the morning of June 5, 2011. She said Manney had called her and said that her sister was on the floor of her apartment; He said he didn't know if she was dead, but he was leaving.
The 40-year-old Sandeen was found to have died from strangulation. Police had been called to the couple's apartment the night before on reports of a domestic altercation. Sandeen said Manney had attacked her and Manney said Sandeen attacked him.
Police looked at her carefully and saw no injuries. Manney agreed to spend the night at a hotel and officers gave him a ride there.
During the trial, Manney's attorney argued that someone else must have entered the apartment between 5 a.m., when Sandeen called her boss to say she would not be coming into work and 11 a.m., when Manney called Sandeen's sister and said she looked dead.
But prosecutor Judith Hawley presented witnesses, including Manney's two ex-wives, who testified that he had choked both of them and had previously assaulted Sandeen. In addition, Manney had told police that he may have choked Sandeen the night before. However, the medical examiner testified that the bruising on her body would have been obvious to the police officers.
The case had an unusual twist. One witnesses was an elderly neighbor of Sandeen and Manney who was recovering from a serious medical condition. During the trial, the jury was dismissed for the afternoon and the judge, the lawyers, a court reporter and a multi-media technician from the county attorney's office crowded into the woman's small apartment to take her testimony on videotape. That testimony was later played to the jury.
State sentencing guidelines call for a recommended sentence of 12 and a half years, but prosecutors plan to ask a a judge to sentence Manney to 15 years.
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