Defense admits to guilt in capital case

WARREN – An attorney representing capital murder defendant Louis Mann told a judge Monday that his client killed his parents two years ago.

”We’re conceding guilt in this case,” attorney Greg Meyers told Judge W. Wyatt McKay during initial jury selection in Mann’s trial.

Meyers was out of earshot of any potential jurors in the case and was making a point to McKay and assistant prosecutors Chris Becker and Gabe Wildman.

Meyers, part of a defense team made up of attorneys Matt Pentz and David Rouzzo, was pointing out how the defense strategy in the case hinges on picking a jury that will not recommend death.

The defense apparently plans on presenting very little evidence to try and convince jurors of Mann’s innocence, and instead will concentrate on trying to stress mitigating factors for the death.

”Mr. Mann has offered to plead guilty and serve life without parole already,” Meyers said, while arguing to keep a woman on the panel of potential jurors after she said she could not impose a death penalty on anyone because she doesn’t believe in it.

Becker, meanwhile, said the Trumbull County Prosecutor’s Office and his boss elected Prosecutor Dennis Watkins reviewed the Mann case and decided that a jury would be appropriate to decide any recommendation of punishment to the judge.

A jury only makes a recommendation if a defendant is found guilty and the case proceeds to the sentencing, or mitigation, phase. The panel can recommend death; life without the chance of parole; or parole after 30, 25, or 20 years.

Becker argued to excuse the woman who didn’t believe in the death penalty, but McKay pointed out that the individual questioning of the jurors on the death penalty will come later. The allowed the woman to remain on the panel and pointed out that he also allowed another woman who believed in ”an eye for an eye” to remain on the panel of potential jurors.

Attorneys were continuing today to question prospective jurors about other possible excuses including health and financial hardships.

A 90-year-old woman with a walker was excused very quickly along with several people with child care issues and others who couldn’t afford to take time off work.

It was Sept. 30, 2011, that Mann is accused of strangling his mother with a clothesline and shooting his father and beating him to death with a flashlight.

According to a coroner’s report, Philip J. Mann Sr., 59, died from blunt cranial trauma and multiple gunshot wounds to the head. The coroner also ruled that Philip Mann’s wife, Frances M. Mann, 53, died of ligature strangulation.

Investigators found the couple’s bodies in the living room of their Jefferson Street S.W. home, where they were letting Louis Mann stay, four days after he was released from jail on other charges.

The 33-year-old Mann told authorities that killing his father first had followed 30 years of pent-up rage.

Police from Warren and Howland arrested Mann in a Capri Motel room in Howland with a woman he picked up the day before.