NEW HANOVER COUNTY — A Pender County man will serve 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in a shooting inside an Ogden area home that killed 32-year-old Yancey Martin Edwards in May 2015.
Theio Robert Manley, 25, pleaded guilty in New Hanover County Superior Court to a charge of second-degree murder, two counts of cruelty to animals and several other felony charges before Superior Court Judge Phyllis Gorham on Monday. His sentencing was scheduled in court for Tuesday morning, as well as victim impact statements from members of Edwards’ family.
Manley is one of three co-defendants that was charged with the death of Edwards, who was shot and killed along with his two dogs, at a home in the 400 block of Point View Court on May 4, 2015. New Hanover County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the burglary call at the home that day. There, they found Edwards shot multiple times, the dogs, and another man who was shot in his elbow. Edwards girlfriend of two years was also inside the home at the time of the shooting.
Edwards was pronounced dead at the scene. His two dogs also died.
The witnesses stated two men entered the home through the kitchen window with a rifle and demanded money and drugs, according to sheriff’s office spokesman Lt. Jerry Brewer. Through the investigation, detectives with the sheriff’s office learned that the two intruders were driven to the home in an attempt to rob the victims. Edwards and the other victim, struggled with the intruders before shots were fired from a .22-caliber rifle.
Several days after the fatal shooting, deputies arrested Manley on Peachtree Avenue in Wilmington after he reportedly ran from authorities attempting to serve an arrest warrant. In June 2015, he and the two other co-defendants in the case — Michael Anthony Rich Malloy and Brent Thomas James Hyatt — were indicted on several felony charges in relation to the case, including first-degree murder, attempted armed robbery and cruelty to animals.
Hyatt, 27, also pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, cruelty to animals and several other felony charges on Sept. 13, 2016. He was sentenced to 244-305 months in prison.
Along with the second-degree murder charge, Manley pleaded guilty to charges of attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon, conspiracy to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon, two counts of cruelty to animals, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill or inflict serious injury, and first-degree burglary. He pleaded no contest to a charge of possession of a firearm by a felon.
Prior to Manley’s sentencing, several members of Edwards family gave victim’s impact statements in court. Among them was Edwards’ girlfriend, Hannah Gastwirth who was in the home at the time of the shooting. She stated that she will always remember the night Edwards was killed and that her life will never be the same.
She said the night prior to the shooting the couple had just celebrated their two-year anniversary together, they played cards and listened to music, without event knowing they were being watched.
“I went to bed with a sense of safety that is unfamiliar to me now. That I may never know again,” Gastwirth said. “In the early morning hours of May 4, 2015, life as I know it seized to exist.”
“You Theio Robert Manley broke into our happy home to steal from us. You achieved that; you stole the lives of Max and Jo-Jo; two sweet and innocent dogs; and you stole a best friend for Joshua Roydes; you stole a father from his son; a son from his mother … You stole my entire family,” she told Manley in the court.
Edwards former wife, Shanna Edwards, also spoke in court.
“I have a 10-year-old son, who was 8 at the time, that I had to tell his father was dead. That he had been murdered. And the first thing he asked was where’s his dogs. And I had to tell him that they were dead too … my son will never have a relationship with his father again. His relationship with him is over, except going to his grave site.”
Judge Gorham sentenced Manley to 280-348 months in the North Carolina Department of Corrections for the second-degree murder charge and robbery charges, followed by 80-108 months for all remaining charges, a total of at least 30 years in prison. He was given credit for time served in jail prior to his plea.