Judge remands charges against Manus

By Russell Hood The Webster Progress-Times

WALTHALL —A judge has remanded felony criminal charges against a former county jail inmate, now a quadriplegic, who is suing Webster County and others.

Circuit Judge Joey Loper, upon motions of the state, approved orders remanding the cases against Conway Manus on June 13 in Webster County Circuit Court. Loper and Assistant District Attorney William Hopper signed the orders.

The charges remanded were aggravated domestic violence, two counts of simple assault of law enforcement officer and two counts of aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer.

Loper ordered the charges be remanded to the file without prejudice, meaning they were sent back to the state for reconsideration but that the court reserves the right to revive the charges.

According to the orders, Manus is receiving care at the Baldwyn Nursing Facility for medical ailments including quadriplegia and requires use of a ventilator. Quadriplegia is total paralysis of the body from the neck down.

Loper cited the potential danger to Manus’ health involved in transporting him to the Courthouse in Walthall from Baldwyn, as well as the difficulty and cost that such transport would create for the county.

The judge found that transporting Manus would create a potential risk of harm to him and that the state’s motions were for good cause. Additionally, Loper stated that Manus’ right to a speedy trial is tolled for the period of time of the remand.

If his medical conditions improve to the point where the risk of harm from transport is reduced to a reasonable level, the charges will be placed back on the active trial docket.

Manus, 29, filed a federal lawsuit in June 2011 against the county and other defendants stemming from his September 2010 arrest at his home on Grady Road and resulting incarceration. Deputies went to pick up Manus after his Justice Court bond was revoked on the aforementioned domestic violence charge. That charge alleged he hit his wife with his fist and broke her nose in July 2010.

Manus was involved in an altercation with the deputies and other law enforcement officers who were called for backup after he resisted arrest, according to court records and then-sheriff Phillip Smith.

One count of aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer was filed against Manus following the altercation. Officials previously said Manus attacked then-deputy Jeremy Kilgore with a knife and hit him on the head with a jar, for which he required medical treatment.

The Progress-Times published allegations in Manus’ civil lawsuit, along with the county’s answer and defenses, in its Sept. 8 issue.

Manus alleges in complaint, which presents only one side of a legal argument, that he was beaten during the altercation and after he was taken to the county jail. He claims he could not walk and that his legs were numb by the next day, when he was airlifted to the hospital in Tupelo. He is seeking a judgment of an unspecified amount for violation of his constitutional rights, false arrest and imprisonment, and other alleged abuses.

The county Board of Supervisors went into executive session June 25 to consider pending litigation, being the Manus suit. No related action was taken after the board came back into open session about 15 minutes later.