WARREN - Psychologists from Columbus will try to persuade a jury next week to keep 33-year-old Louis Mann off Ohio's death row after the same panel took only about an hour to convict Mann of killing his parents two years ago.
Mann's defense team made it clear even during jury selection earlier in the month that their client confessed to Warren police about murdering his mother and father inside their Jefferson Street home. The defense did little or nothing to challenge the guilt, preferring instead to concentrate on mitigation next week to spare his life. Defense attorneys presented no witnesses.
Mann showed little reaction as Common Pleas Judge W. Wyatt McKay read lengthy verdicts that showed Mann responsible for both murders during the commission of aggravated robbery and guilty of specifications that make him eligible for the death penalty.
McKay gave orders earlier that the jury of eight men and four women bring overnight bags in case they didn't reach a verdict Thursday evening. They would have been sequestered in a downtown hotel if deliberations went late.
The lack of a defense in the case became clear after the prosecution's final witness Thursday morning when Coroner Dr. Humphrey Germaniuk detailed the murders.
Using an overhead projector with autopsy photos and at times an easel, Germaniuk showed how Mann strangled his mother with a clothesline and shot his father with a .22 caliber rifle after beating him to death with a flashlight Sept. 30, 2011. Philip J. Mann Sr., 59, died from blunt cranial trauma and multiple gunshot wounds to the head. Mann's mother, Frances M. Mann, 53, died of ligature strangulation.
Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple
Defendant Louis Mann, center, with his defense attorneys Matt Pentz, left, and Greg Meyers, right, at his side, looks to the back of the courtroom while Judge W. Wyatt McKay reads the guilty verdict in the murders of his parents two years ago
The coroner also singled out defensive wounds on the father's right hand and crushing wounds in which the blows from either of two flashlights practically took off two of his fingers.
Germaniuk said Frances Mann died quickly after Mann wrapped the rope around his mother's neck at least eight times.
The defendant's dad was struck over the head at least 12 times and shot in the head another four times. Germaniuk referred to Mr. Mann's death as overkill.
''Considering the amount of force, it's the type of hatred you might see in a domestic violence case or a homosexual frenzy,'' Germaniuk said.
The remarks were used by the defense to continue their claim that Mann was sexually abused as a youth either by his father or another youth that lived in the Parkman Road N.W. neighborhood where he grew up. Mann told detectives in his confession that his father's murder was rage that had been building more than 30 years.
The defense tried unsuccessfully to persuade McKay to instruct jurors on lesser included offenses of murder and theft, which would have removed the death penalty as an option.
Defense attorney Greg Meyers said the murders were a crime of passion and the theft of his parents' Cadillac DeVille, $1,400 from their bank account and prescriptions pills was only an afterthought.
Meanwhile, assistant prosecutors Chris Becker and Gabe Wildman told the jury Mann committed a crime of opportunity since his parents had just bailed him out of jail a few days earlier and Mann's van was broken down.
''The only passion he has is his appetite for drugs,'' Becker said, pointing out how Mann spent the money on crack cocaine, a prostitute and motel rooms the two days after the murders.
''He was at the ATM stealing their money within 36 minutes of the murders,'' Becker said. ''He bought himself new clothes and cell phones.''
Becker also challenged jurors to watch the taped confession that shows Mann asking for his wallet back so he would have enough money for his commissary account at Trumbull County Jail.
''This guy will say anything to escape responsibility. It's Louis being Louis,'' said Wildman.
''Sometimes bad people do bad things. That's the world we live in. He is a self-confessed liar, drug addict and manipulator. He's a user. It's like Bob Dylan said - if you ain't got nothing, you ain't got nothing to lose,'' Wildman said.