Thursday, February 11, 2010

Torrance, CA man who threw bride off cliff convicted of 1st degree murder - sentenced to 25 years to life

(Original Post 12-20-09)
A man who threw his wife of a few weeks off of a cliff to her death in Rancho Palos Verdes will be sentenced to 25 to life for her murder in February. Brandon Manai, 28, and from Torrance, CA, was found guilty of 1st degree murder on Thursday, December 17 in the slaying of 24 year old Julie Rosas, according to Deputy District Attorney Jodi Link.

Manai, who was on probation for choking his girlfriend as a teenager, had dated Rosas only a short time before they were married June 19, 2005, in Las Vegas. The relationship had been rocky, with late-night arguments, Manai showing up at Rosas' workplace unannounced, and incessant phone calls and text messages, Link said. And things did not change after their wedding. Within 48 hours of the ceremony, Rosas was asking her friends how to seek an annulment.

Nearly two weeks later, on July 2, Manai picked up Rosas and was supposed to drive her to a downtown L.A. nightclub where she would meet up with girlfriends. Cellphone signals showed the pair made it to downtown, but they never made it to the club and her friends never heard from her, according to the prosecutor.

Manai, however, had went to the Rancho Palos Verdes cliff, where he threw Rosas 200 feet to her death around 2:30 AM. Manai confessed to a friend over lunch, and that afternoon, a beachgoer found Rosas' body, which went unclaimed until July 6, when her family filed a missing persons report.

Meanwhile, Manai tried to cover his tracks by calling Rosas' home, detrroying her belongings, and writing a diary entry where he wondered where the victim was. Cellphone records unmasked Rosas, as he was found to have been in contact with Rosas up to 55 times a day before July 3, but not at all after July 3.

(Update 2-11-10) As expected, Manai received 25 years to life. The victim's siblings were in court, and Manai said to them at the hearing, "I didn't kill your sister. I didn't throw her off a cliff. It was an accident," contridicting the verdict and the police report. Here is the letter Manai wrote to the victim's sister. Judge James Brandlin entered the letter into the record, and barred him from contacting the victim's family.

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