Sexual assault victim required facial surgery; defendant ordered held in D.C. jail

(Update: Suspect in Northwest assault found dead in DC jail )

Paul Mannina and his co-worker at the Labor Department planned to skip work and spend the day together. They would meet at her home in Northwest Washington, go to breakfast, visit gardens and, finally, have dinner.

But things went horribly awry virtually from the moment Mannina arrived, a D.C. police detective testified Monday, describing how Mannina, a veteran lawyer, allegedly pushed his way past his colleague’s front door, handcuffed her, sexually assaulted her and left her with such extensive injuries that she required surgery to implant a plate in her face.

During the struggle, Detective Alexander MacBean said at a preliminary hearing in Superior Court, the woman pleaded with Mannina and told him that “everybody loves you.”

But Mannina responded, “Well, you don’t,” according to the detective.

Later, as Mannina was leaving the woman’s home, MacBean said, Mannina told his victim, “I’ll just go shoot myself.”

After listening to MacBean’s account and taking character testimony from Mannina’s neighbors, Judge Robert I. Richter agreed with a prosecutor’s motion to keep Mannina at the D.C. jail until his next hearing, July 9.

Richter called Mannina, charged last week with first-degree burglary while armed and third-degree sexual assault in the June 5 attack , a “wonderful person in most respects.” But he added: “There are some dark things floating out there.”

The victim initially told police that she did not know who her attacker was. But she later said her assailant had been Mannina, 58, of Ashton, a lawyer whom she had known for about 21 years. She said she lied out of fear that he would come back and assault her again, MacBean said. She eventually told police of the plans she’d made with Mannina for the day the attack took place.

Mannina worked in the Labor Department’s Division of Plan Benefits Security. The Maryland lawyer was immediately placed on leave after he was charged.

According to MacBean’s testimony and information contained in charging documents, Mannina either punched the woman in the face or sprayed her with mace. He then tried to stun her with a stun gun, handcuffed her hands behind her back and knocked her to the living room floor.

In addition to her facial injuries, the victim had bruises on her arms and wrists and burn marks on the back of her neck, according to the documents.

During the court hearing, MacBean also revealed that a search conducted of Mannina’s home turned up a stun gun, mace and five guns, the detective testified.

Mannina was arrested last week after he was discharged from a Montgomery County hospital. MacBean testified that a nurse at the hospital said Mannina had been admitted because he had a “change in his mental state.” Mannina at the time had a 0.12 blood alcohol level and had tested positive for opiates and Tylenol.

Mannina’s attorney, Michael McAuliffe, argued that his client should be released from jail. “He needs mental health care,” McAuliffe said.

Mannina, wearing an orange prison jumpsuit, sat next to his attorney. Among neighbors testifying on his behalf, one described Mannina as a “family man” who was very “spiritual” and who had in the past served as treasurer of his neighborhood association.

As neighbors testified about Mannina’s wife and two stepsons, he sobbed openly with his face on the table in front of him, his wife seated among 30 or so friends, relatives and neighbors.

Prosecutor Andrea Hertzfeld said in court that Mannina was a danger and should remain in jail. “If he is released, he would be a danger to the community based on the charges, his mental state and his access to weapons,” she said.

Richter agreed, despite what he had heard from neighbors and the fact that Mannina had no prior arrests.

“Your client had everything to lose,” the judge told Mannina’s attorney, “but nonetheless was capable of something like this.”

Keith Alexander covers crime, specifically D.C. Superior Court cases for The Washington Post. He has covered dozens of crime stories from Banita Jacks, the Washington woman charged with killing her four daughters, to the murder trial of slain federal intern Chandra Levy.

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