By Ed Runyan
Louis Mann, 33, who killed his mother and father two years ago in their Jefferson Street Southwest home but escaped the death penalty last month, says he’s grateful he got to tell “my side of the incident.”
“When the smoke clears, I’m still a twice-convicted murderer. However, it was important to me that my side of the incident be made public because I’m not a brutal, sick, vicious human being that deserves the death sentence,” he said at his sentencing Tuesday.
Judge W. Wyatt McKay of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court, who presided over Mann’s trial, affirmed the recommendation of the jury, sentencing Mann to life in prison without the chance of parole for killing Frances Mann, 53, and Phillip Mann, 59.
Louis Mann, who was living with his parents at the time of the murders, admitted strangling his mother with a clothesline after she told him she wanted to take custody of his daughter.
When his father came into the room with a rifle, Louis Mann took the rifle, then “took out 31 years of rage” by hitting his father on the head repeatedly with a flashlight and shooting him four times in the head.
James F. Guzan, cousin of Louis Mann’s mother, spoke about his punishment.
“I remember you said on the [witness] stand that you are a human being too. No, Louis Mann, you are not a human being. I can’t even call you an animal, because animals kill for food. So to me you are nothing. And I ... want to say you truly deserve the death penalty.”
Ohio law allows the defendant and representatives of the victims to speak at sentencing.
Louis Mann also was allowed to speak to the jury during the penalty phase of his trial, giving an unsworn statement, meaning prosecutors were not allowed to cross-examine his words.
He told the jury he regularly reads the Bible, was sorry for the killings and wanted to stay alive for his daughter and two stepchildren.
After the trial, one juror said hearing Louis Mann’s statement made the juror feel Mann was remorseful even though he was not good at expressing it.
Guzan, confined to a wheelchair, spoke directly to Louis Mann, who stood with deputies and his attorneys looking back without emotion.
“Doing what you did to your parents is an atrocity,” Guzan said. “A loving father would not be doing drugs, stealing, lying and killing.
“After the crime was committed, you did what Louis wanted to do — drugs, shop — had to go look for your hooker — and eat. Even at the jail after being caught you still thought only of Louis.”
Part of the sentencing phase of Mann’s trial involved testimony by two mental-health professionals, discussing Louis Mann’s accusations that his parents abused him.
“I often wonder, if all of the so-called mitigating circumstances were absolutely true, why when you became 18 you didn’t say goodbye to your terrible parents and leave and make something of your life,” Guzan said. “After all, you aren’t the only person that supposedly had a terrible childhood. Many picked themselves up and made something good of themselves, but not you. You chose to become what you are today — a drug user, a thief and a murderer.”