DERBY — Nicholas Eisele’s girlfriend awoke to commotion coming from the other room and heard him telling someone to “relax” and “calm down” during the early-morning hours of May 24.
Outside her bedroom door, she found Eisele in a tense standoff with his childhood friend from Newtown, Peter Manfredonia, who was wanted by police for a homicide committed two days earlier in upstate Connecticut.
The woman’s account, which included the moment she “heard the shots” that police say killed her boyfriend followed by her kidnapping, were released Monday in an arrest warrant charging Manfredonia with Eisele’s homicide at his Derby home.
Manfredonia, 23, who was charged last month with murder and other crimes that police say occurred in Willington, will be arraigned Tuesday on the new charges in state Superior Court in Milford.
According to the arrest warrant, Eisele was killed when he tried to stop Manfredonia from going after his girlfriend as she tried to call 911 around 6 a.m. May 24.
Manfredonia “ripped” the phone out of her hands and started “tussling” with Eisele, the warrant said.
“(I)t was like Manfredonia was trying to come after her and Nick tried to stop him,” police wrote of the woman’s recollection of the incident.
As the two fought in the bedroom, the woman “curled up into a ball near the front door,” the warrant said.
Seconds later, she heard gunshots and looked up and saw Eisele motionless on the floor, the warrant said. The woman “screamed at the top of her lungs,” in hopes of alerting the downstairs neighbor, but Manfredonia shouted for her to “shut up,” the warrant stated.
The woman, who was not identified by police, told investigators that she asked Manfredonia to call to get medical help for her boyfriend.
“No, he’s dead. I shot him in the head,” Manfredonia replied, according to the warrant.
The warrant said Manfredonia, holding the gun he used to shoot Eisele, then ordered the woman to get into her car and drive him toward Newtown, where he and Eisele grew up.
The woman said they mostly took back-roads, heading west on Route 34, then onto Route 111 and Route 25 through Newtown, the warrant stated. The woman said she was “driving erratically in an attempt to get stopped by police,” the warrant stated.
“Several times she contemplated driving into a tree, and at one point wanted to drive into the Newtown Police Department, but Manfredonia had his seatbelt on and decided not to crash the vehicle,” police wrote in the warrant.
Eventually, Manfredonia ordered her to drive south, though the destination was unclear, according to the warrant.
As she drove, Manfredonia detailed the previous 36 hours, which included the killing 62-year-old Ted Demers in Willington two days earlier, a home invasion where he held a man captive, and the ensuing manhunt, according to the warrant.
The woman drove into New York and then New Jersey as Manfredonia held the handgun between his legs and often repeated: “I don’t want to have to kill you,” according to the warrant.
Seven hours later, Manfredonia allowed her to drop him off at a New Jersey truck stop near the Pennsylvania border, where he hailed an Uber with the help of a bystander, the warrant stated. He left her with $200 for “gas money,” the warrant said.
Three days later, Manfredonia was captured by police in Hagerstown, Md.
After being extradited to Connecticut last month, Manfredonia was charged with murder, attempted murder, first-degree assault, home invasion, kidnapping and other offenses related to the Willington crimes. Last week, Manfredonia pleaded not guilty to those charges and opted for a jury trial in the case. He’s being held in lieu of $7 million bond in this case.
On Monday, Manfredonia was charged with murder, felony murder, first-degree kidnapping, home invasion, first-degree robbery and carrying a pistol without a permit in connection with the Derby incident. He was held on $5 million bond for the new charges.
Police said the crime spree began in Willington around 9 a.m. on May 22, when DeMers offered Manfredonia a ride on his 4-wheeler. Police said Manfredonia, armed with a sword, was in the area to visit his former girlfriend who said she was considering a restraining order against him.
Manfredonia apparently told DeMers his motorcycle broke down, according to the arrest warrant for the Willington crimes.
Manfredonia then attacked DeMers and a neighbor — 80-year-old John Franco — with the sword. DeMers died from his injuries. Franco was critically injured in the attack.
On the morning of May 24, police received a call from a Willington man who said Manfredonia held him against his will for hours before the Newtown resident stole food, guns and his truck, according to authorities. The man was unharmed.
The truck was found near Osbornedale State Park in Derby around 6:45 a.m. May 24, setting off an extensive search in the area that led law enforcement about a mile away to Eisele’s home.