Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita, III announces that 55 year-old Derrick Manigault, of Fargo Ave. in the City of Buffalo was convicted, as charged, of Assault in the First Degree and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree, as charged, after a week-long jury trial before State Supreme Court Justice Christopher Burns.
On November 10, 2013, Manigault brought a knife to a fist-fight, slashing and stabbing the unarmed victim, Jason McGinnis. The vicious assault left the victim with a 3 inch long deep wound to his face and a 6 inch long laceration to his chest. Manigault fled the scene, leaving the bleeding and severely injured victim behind. Although his wounds were sutured, McGinnis is left with disfiguring life-long scars.
Aware the authorities were searching for him, Manigault bravely scurried to his attic and hid there when the police arrived at his residence. When the police left (or so it seemed) to get a search warrant, Manigault courageously tried to sneak out the back door; however, Buffalo Police Department Detective Thomas Sullivan maintained surveillance and spotted the fleeing felon as soon as he tried to escape.
Manigault gave several different versions regarding how and why the assault occurred. He denied causing any injury to McGinnis when initially questioned by the police (aka the “I didn’t do it” defense). He later told his friends and his family that he “accidentally” slashed and stabbed the victim after he had been “disrespected” (aka the accident variant of “I did it but” defense). At trial, Manginault claimed he was in fear of his life and had no alternative but to stab the unarmed victim (aka the self-defense variant of the “I did it but” defense).
During the prosecutor’s withering cross-examination, Manigault admitted he lied to the police, lied to his friends, lied to his family, and was hoping the jury would buy his latest theory of defense. They didn’t and after a few hours of deliberation, found the defendant guilty as charged.
The jury’s verdict likely would have been even quicker had they been permitted to hear evidence concerning the defendant’s lengthy criminal history.
No stranger to the criminal justice system, Manigault boasts four (4) prior felony convictions as well as five (5) prior misdemeanor convictions. In 1983, Manigault was convicted of a kidnapping and sexually assaulting a woman and has been a registered sex offender ever since. Manigault was also convicted of a narcotics felony in 1989 and another narcotics felony in 1996.
Shockingly, Manigault has also ignored the rules and conditions imposed upon him by virtue of being a sex offender. Indeed, Manigault’s fourth felony conviction, occurring in 2013, was for failing to register as a sex offender. Naturally, the presiding judge sternly sentenced Manigault, a lifelong criminal, to a conditional discharge.
The People intend to petition the court to find Manigault is a persistent felony offender, which is punishable by an indeterminate sentence having a maximum of life in prison. Otherwise, the defendant faces a minimum up 8 years and a maximum of 25 years in state prison when sentenced on June 24th 2014 at 2:00pm by Justice Burns.
The case was successfully prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Sara Ogden, who is assigned to DA Sedita’s Tactical Prosecution Unit.