Man who killed two up for parole

WARREN — A man who has spent half his life in prison for the murder of two men whose bodies were set on fire is up for parole in August.

Seymour Gillman and Frank Mancinelli were shot and killed July 17, 1981. Their bodies were placed in the trunk of a silver Cadillac Seville and set on fire, according to information in a packet Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins sent to the Ohio Parole Board opposing his release.

The car was left ablaze on state Route 82, one mile east of state Route 46 in Howland, where Howland firefighters discovered the bodies.

Henry G. Rockwell was 38 at the time and has served 38 years in prison, according to Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction records. Rockwell, 76, is being held in the Chillicothe Correctional Institution.

Autopsies found Gillman was shot twice in the head and Mancinelli was shot twice in the head and once in the shoulder, according to a statement of facts. The two had to be identified through medical records, medical experts and circumstantial evidence, it states.

Gillman and Rockwell were involved in dealing pills, the document states. Gillman gave one of the state’s witnesses pills to sell and that man gave them to Rockwell to sell instead, it states.

But, the witness claimed, Rockwell didn’t intend on giving the pills or the profit to Gillman and instead planned to “chase him out of town,” the document states.

Earlier in the month before the men were killed, Lordstown police found more than 3,000 counterfeit quaaludes in Rockwell’s car.

Gillman was planning a confrontation with Rockwell, according to a different witness.

But Rockwell bought a .22-caliber Ruger semi-automatic gun just two days before the murders. Later, on July 17, 1981, Rockwell told a woman he showed the two victims the gun and “ended up shooting them,” according to the document.

The two victims went over to Rockwell’s home July 16, 1981, and sometime in the night a neighbor heard gunshots.

Rockwell told a friend and drug dealer around 4 a.m. July 17, 1981, “I really tricked them, I told them — see my new gun — and I shot them,” the document states.

When he asked the friend for help with the bodies, the man refused. But Rockwell threatened to add a third body, so he helped move the bodies into the car, the document states.

But on the way to dispose of the evidence, the car got a flat tire so Rockwell dumped gasoline on the Cadillac and set it on fire, the document states.

Watkins states in his letter opposing Rockwell’s release that he had just been released on drug trafficking charges and rehabilitation didn’t work on him.

rfox@tribtoday.com

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