Retired D.C. police Lt. Jesse Porter Jr. pleaded guilty in D.C. Superior Court on Friday to killing a woman during an Aug. 4, 2022, training exercise for library officers at Anacostia Library.
Porter was charged with second-degree murder while armed, unlawful discharge and possession of a firearm during a crime of violence or dangerous offense in the death of his trainee, 25-year-old Maurica Manyan. Porter was conducting the training as a private contractor.
Under the terms of his plea agreement, Porter pleaded down to involuntary manslaughter while armed and unlawful discharge of a firearm.
Involuntary manslaughter while armed carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. The maximum penalty for unlawful discharge of a firearm is one year behind bars. The judge will consider much lighter sentencing recommendations in the plea agreement during an Aug. 25 sentencing hearing, but the judge can impose any sentence up to the maximum.
Family members of Manyan said during Friday’s court hearing they’re disappointed with the plea deal, and that D.C. prosecutors did not adequately involve them in the process. The prosecution denied the family’s accusations.
“The family is horrified at the fact that throughout this process, they’ve been kept in the dark by the prosecution,” family attorney Chelsea Lewis said. “Their rights have been completely ignored. They have been left feeling as if Jesse Porter’s rights held more weight than their own.”
Porter will not be held in jail ahead of the next hearing in August, despite requests from prosecutors and Manyan’s family, who also said the city of D.C. is partly to blame for her death.
“Porter’s company did not have insurance at the time that these events took place,” Lewis said after Porter’s initial court hearing in May. “The fact that the District of Columbia wouldn’t even take the time to make sure that someone who was training their own employees had insurance — that’s something that should be investigated, that’s something that should be looked into, and that’s something that should have never happened.”
The family’s legal team has brought on additional attorneys and hinted Friday at civil litigation against the city.
After Friday’s hearing, another family attorney Chris Kleppin read the remarks of Manyan’s father on his behalf.
“As a father, the pain I carry is beyond words,” Kleppin read. “I endured the greatest pain that a father ever could endure, losing my daughter and witnessing the failure of justice. This monster accepted a plea that is a gross mismatch to the crime he committed. No parent should ever have to bear this agony.”