McManus Victims’ Family: We Want the Death Penalty


He murdered his family.

Now 15 years after being sentenced to death, Paul McManus might get a second chance.

This comes after the U.S. Court of Appeals overturned McManus’ death sentence in February.

It’s a big blow to the family of Melissa McManus, 8 year-old Lindsay, and 23 month-old Shelby.

They say this unexpected development opens them up to more pain.

Marcie Doty is Melissa’s sister, and she doesn’t mince words. “We don’t want him living the rest of his life, we want him to get the death penalty.”

Their message is strong, but confidence in getting what they want is fading.

Melissa’s mother, Marsha Shanks, chokes back tears, saying they are “fighting for our girls,” trying to get the death penalty once more.

“I’ve never hated anybody like I hate him for what he did to us,” says Shanks.

Mindy Barnes is Melissa’s other sister. She says the family has waited 14 years for a phone call to say “he’s going to be executed.”

That phone call that never came.

In February, the U.S. Court of Appeals found McManus was forced to appear before the jury in a “drug induced stupor,” and McManus would have his sentence overturned.

Now his case could go to trial again.

Nick Hermann, the Vanderburgh County Prosecutor, says there are two options for McManus.

“Whether that be a trial with a verdict, whether that be a plea agreement, but it’s something that is going to have to happen in court.”

The family believes Hermann won’t ask for the death penalty in a retrial; only life without parole.

However Hermann isn’t confirming that.

“At this point we don’t have any announcement to make, nothing’s been finalized.”

McManus will be in Vanderburgh County Circuit Court on August 6 for a progress hearing. It’s there the family tells us McManus will be charged again with murder.

That essentially would be starting the whole trial process over again.

“To me it’s a joke,” says Shanks, “It’s just one big joke. My daughter and two granddaughters were not given a second opportunity at life,” she says.

Holding on to what’s left, while remembering what’s lost.

United, they hope for justice.

“If the roles were reversed in any way she’d do the same thing for us,” Doty adds.

“We have to fight for her, that’s just all there is to it.”

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