Denver DOC employee not charged in fatal shooting of suspected burglar
There was not enough evidence for a jury to find Desmond Manning guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and to prove he wasn't acting in self defense
By Elise Schmelzer
The Denver Post
DENVER — A Department of Corrections employee will not face criminal charges for allegedly shooting and killing a teenager suspected of breaking into a nearby home.
Denver District Attorney Beth McCann said in a statement Wednesday that she decided not to charge Desmond Manning, 46, in the killing of Alexis Mendez-Perez, 16, because there was not enough evidence for a jury to find Manning guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and to prove he wasn’t acting in self defense.
“Not only does the law require us to prove the elements of murder, it also requires us to disprove that Mr. Manning was defending his own life and the lives of his family when he shot Mendez-Perez,” McCann said in the statement. Her decision was first reported by 9News.
Denver police arrested Manning April 24 on suspicion of second-degree murder in connection to the shooting in the 14500 block of East 51st Place. A woman called 911 about 1:40 a.m. to report a burglary in progress at the house behind hers, according to a Denver police probable cause statement. The group of suspected burglars ran from the house shortly after police arrived and another neighbor, later identified as Manning, fired multiple rounds at them.
Mendez-Perez was transported from the scene and declared dead at a local hospital. Another burglary suspect, whose name is redacted in the document, was shot in the leg. The injured teenager told police he was running through a backyard, later determined to be Manning’s, when he and Mendez-Perez were shot.
“We have great sympathy for the family of Alexis Mendez-Perez and understand that the events of April 23, 2020, have permanently altered their lives,” McCann said in the statement. “I along with other members of our office met with the family and their attorney yesterday to inform them of our decision not to file criminal charges against Mr. Manning. That news was understandably difficult for them to hear having lost a loved one.”
Manning remained on administrative leave Wednesday, Department of Corrections spokeswoman Annie Skinner said. A LinkedIn profile for Manning shows he has worked at the department for 22 years.
McCann’s office has filed charges in self defense cases before. Denver prosecutors in 2018 charged a man who said he killed his Uber passenger in self defense. A jury acquitted the man of murder in October.
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