Manieri found dead in his cell, attorney shocked over possible suicide

By ROBIN FITZGERALD – rfitzgerald@sunherald.com

The attorney representing the man suspected of killing a Louisiana priest at a Waveland beach house in July said he was shocked to learn Jeremy W. Manieri was found dead in his state prison cell this morning.

“I’m still trying to process it,” Brian Alexander told the Sun Herald.

Alexander said he was notified by e-mail this morning that corrections officers found Manieri dead about 5 p.m. in his cell at Central Mississippi Correctional Facility.

Suzanne Singletary, spokeswoman for the Mississippi Department of Corrections, said preliminary information suggests he died by suicide.Manieri was serving time at the state prison in Pearl for failing to register as a sex offender following a conviction on child molestation. Prison records list his tentative release date as March 25, 2015.

He also was awaiting prosecution on charges of murder and grand larceny in the slaying of the Rev. Edward Everitt, shot in the head at a beach house used by his Dominican order. Manieri was later arrested in Florida, where authorities said he had driven the priest’s car to take his family on a vacation to Disney World.

Alexander this morning said he has spoken to the coroner handling Manieri’s death investigation.

Manieri’s murder case has not yet been presented to a grand jury. Alexander had filed a motion asking a judge to have the case reviewed by a grand jury outside of Hancock County.

“A decision has not been made and a hearing has not even been set on the motion,” Alexander said.

Everitt, 71, was pastor of Holy Ghost Church in Hammond, La., and at Our Lady of Pompeii Church in nearby Tickfaw.

Manieri, a handyman, had claimed he had smoked marijuana with the priest and had woken up to find the cleric was fondling him, according to a detective’s testimony in a preliminary hearing.

SunHerald.com is following developments in this news story.

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