Manigault killer to serve at least 21 years

By John W. Goodwin Jr.


The mother of Jack Manigault said she does not want the man who killed her son ever to walk the streets again.

“My life has been turned upside down,” said Theresa Manigault in a statement to Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court. “I hope you find it in your heart to give him the stiffest penalty possible. I don’t want him to walk the streets of Youngstown ever again as long as I live.”

Marco Cardenas, 23, apologized to the family at his sentencing Monday. Jack Manigault is the brother of Youngstown native and reality television personality Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth. She was in attendance but chose not to speak.

Cardenas will spend at least the next 21 years in prison for gunning down Manigault, 40, of East Avondale Avenue, as he lay in bed with his girlfriend Oct. 9, 2011.

He had been set to go on trial before Judge Krichbaum, but he decided to enter into a plea agreement with prosecutors instead.

He pleaded guilty as charged to aggravated murder, felonious assault and aggravated robbery.

Martin Desmond, an assistant county prosecutor recommended a sentence of 20 years to life in prison, plus one year for the gun specification.

Atty. Susan Maruca, representing Omarosa Manigault, said the Manigault family is still upset and shocked at the murder. She said the family felt the plea was a good idea because a trial would be too painful.

Desmond said the plea agreement also saved two young witnesses from having to take the stand. The two key prosecution witnesses are 13 and 14 years old, respectively.

“These were young kids who witnessed this, and I wanted to try and save them as much as I could from having to testify especially since he [Cardenas] is pleading to essentially a life sentence,” Desmond said.

Cardenas, accompanied by his attorney Lou DeFabio, said he is ready to accept responsibility for shooting Manigault.

Judge Krichbaum, after the acceptance of the plea agreement, assured Cardenas that a conviction at trial would have netted him a harsher sentence than that negotiated by defense attorneys and prosecutors.

The judge said the crime “was one of the most horrific things that can happen to a loved one.” He sentenced Cardenas to 20 years to life on the aggravated murder charge, 11 years for the aggravated burglary, and eight years on the assault charge. All the terms will run concurrently. Cardenas also received a mandatory one-year sentence for using a gun in the crimes.

Cardenas will get credit for the 198 days he has spent in county jail, but he will not be eligible for parole for at least 21 years.

According to police, Jack Manigault was home with his 34-year-old girlfriend when Cardenas, who was the woman’s former boyfriend, forced his way into the house past the two juveniles and entered a bedroom where Manigault and the woman were sleeping.

Several shots were fired, and Manigault ran from the room and collapsed with a gunshot wound to the shoulder and superficial wounds to the head.

The woman told police Cardenas told her he knew she was with Manigault, then hit her in the head with the gun before trying to shoot Manigault again. The youths were able to force Cardenas out the door before he could do so.

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