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The Tony Mancuso Case Continues

| 17 August 2015 1:00 pm

Rider Update: Tony Mancuso

By Don L. Schneider
AUG. 16, 2015

A few weeks ago, I received a humbling telephone call from Today’s Cycle Coverage. The owners of TCC had been touched by my initial story regarding a veteran motocrosser, a friend of mine for 30 years, a father (like me), and a man who had many more great factors in his life. I am speaking of Anthony “Tony” Mancuso. The editors felt that their readers would like to know what had happened in the case since the first story appeared.
[For that original story, please see “Veteran Motocrosser Tony Mancuso Dies After an Altercation,” posted on July 12, 2015… Editor]

Tony Mancuso.

Tony Mancuso.

It is not too often that a follow-up story requested, but the circumstances of what happened make me feel like an attorney or a special investigator of the facts of the case involving the death of one of our own in the sport of motorcycle racing on dirt.

A brief synopsis: On July 9, 2015, a resident of Vancouver, Washington (and also the father of a racer), Michael Taylor, was charged with 163.160 – assault in the fourth degree. In legalese, “…a person commits the crime of assault in the fourth degree if the person… intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes physical injury to another.”

So, let’s get you up to date.

As of August 11, 2015, the Grand Jury set a “manslaughter” charge as well as the second-degree assault of Tony Mancuso onto Michael Taylor. I have researched this ongoing story more because of the loss of a friend who was actually struck down with intent to harm, resulting in Tony Mancuso’s death. So I ask you readers to make the call; you are each a public servant, right? If we do not add to the public outcry, which could have a great effect on determining the climate of the judicial system, then whatever evidence has come forth so far will be all that Tony Mancuso will have in his favor toward the conviction of the man who physically punched Tony in the head with malice, causing his death.

Tony’s son Nick Mancuso now runs his dad’s number seven on his cycle. Photo by Gate Drop

Tony’s son Nick Mancuso now runs his dad’s number seven on his cycle. Photo by Gate Drop

Believe me, this will not be the final story that comes from this photojournalist. In my opinion, there are some stories that need to be completely open to the public. We have a right to know.

What follows next is from a story in The Associated Press

Autopsy: Man Punched at Motocross Event Died of Head Trauma
Battle Ground Man Faces Possible Charges

Michael Taylor.

Michael Taylor.

PORTLAND — Autopsy results confirm that a 61-year-old man punched by a Clark County man at a motocross event last week died of blunt-force head trauma.

Dr. Larry Lewman of the Oregon medical examiner’s office told The Oregonian it wasn’t the punch that caused Anthony Mancuso’s death, but the impact of his head striking the pavement.

Police responded Thursday to the Portland International Raceway after reports that the families of two motocross riders were fighting.

Michael Taylor of Battle Ground was initially charged with fourth-degree assault. The charge was dismissed after Mancuso died. Police say they are now preparing new charges to present to a grand jury.

Detectives Mark Slater and Erik Kammerer of the Portland Police Bureau request that anyone who witnessed or might have video of the incident to contact them.

Assault in the Second Degree
So, not knowing what “Assault in the Second Degree” is, I looked up some things. Here are my findings:

§163.175¹ Assault in the second degree:

(1) A person commits the crime of assault in the second degree if the person:

(a) Intentionally or knowingly causes serious physical injury to another;

(b) Intentionally or knowingly causes physical injury to another by means of a deadly or dangerous weapon;

or (c) Recklessly causes serious physical injury to another by means of a deadly or dangerous weapon under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life.

(2) Assault in the second degree is a Class B felony. [1971 c.743 §93; 1975 c.626 §1; 1977 c.297 §2; 2005 c.22 §110]

What is Manslaughter Law?
According to http://www.hg.org/manslaughter-law.html, Manslaughter law deals with homicide cases in which the defendant’s culpability is mitigated by a lack of malice or deliberation. Like first- and second-degree murder, manslaughter crimes involve unlawful killings, but they also involve surrounding circumstances that partially justify the defendant’s conduct in the eyes of the law. Thus, in a manslaughter case, there may be no doubt that the defendant killed the victim. The main issues in the case are more likely to revolve around the reasonableness of the defendant’s actions in light of what was going on at the time the killing took place.

For example, consider a defendant who is physically attacked by another patron inside of a barroom. The attacker is smaller in stature than the defendant, not armed with any weapon, and does not pose a risk of death or serious bodily injury to the defendant. Despite this, the defendant fends off the attack by pulling out a gun and killing the attacker. In this situation, the legal theory of self-defense is not available to insulate the defendant from all criminal liability. But, given the circumstances, the defendant might only be found guilty of manslaughter, instead of the more serious crime of murder.

Elements of Voluntary Manslaughter
There are two kinds of manslaughter, voluntary and involuntary.

Voluntary manslaughter is defined as the unlawful and intentional killing of another human being, without malice or deliberation, upon a sudden heat of passion caused by adequate provocation. Of these several elements, the defining characteristic of voluntary manslaughter is the requirement that the killing be committed upon a sudden heat of passion. The stereotypical scenario is that of a defendant who arrives home to find his or her spouse in bed with another person, whom the defendant then kills in an emotional rage triggered by the unexpected discovery of the spouse’s infidelity.

Keeping with this example, whether the defendant will be guilty of murder or manslaughter will be determined to a large extent by the precise sequence of events that took place once the defendant found the spouse in bed with someone else. If the defendant can establish that there was little or no “cooling-off period” before the killing, the defendant may be guilty of voluntary manslaughter. However, if the prosecution can show that the defendant took time to contemplate the situation before acting (by going to retrieve a gun and coming back, for example), the conduct will likely qualify as murder.

Criminal Negligence and Involuntary Manslaughter
The second kind of manslaughter is known as involuntary manslaughter. This crime occurs when the defendant kills the victim by accident, but under circumstances that justify some amount of punishment. It is often said that involuntary manslaughter amounts to “criminal negligence.” In other words, the defendant acted so recklessly that the law imposes criminal liability, even though the defendant did not intend to kill. A common example of involuntary manslaughter is a drunken driver who causes an auto wreck that results in someone’s death.

So, is this going to be State Law or Federal Law that rules? Since this court case is going to be held in Oregon, will it actually go to higher courts? For more information, go to http://www.ussc.gov/guidelines-manual/2014/2014-ussc-guidelines-manual.

Voluntary Manslaughter vs. Involuntary Manslaughter – Overview
At Common Law, as well as under current statutes, the offense can be either voluntary or involuntary manslaughter. The main difference between the two is that voluntary manslaughter requires an intent to kill or cause serious bodily harm, while involuntary manslaughter does not. Premeditation or deliberation, however, are elements of murder and not of manslaughter. Some states have abandoned the use of adjectives to describe different forms of the offense and, instead, simply divide the offense into varying degrees.

For more information, go to http://statelaws.findlaw.com/oregon-law/oregon-manslaughter-laws.html.

Many states divide the crime of manslaughter between voluntary and involuntary manslaughter, but in Oregon, manslaughter laws are divided by categories based upon such things as whether the killing was reckless or negligent or had an “aggravating” factor such as a prior history of manslaughter. The following article is a brief summary of Oregon’s manslaughter laws. See more at http://statelaws.findlaw.com/oregon-law/oregon-manslaughter-laws.html

State Involuntary Manslaughter Laws
Falling into the lower range of the crimes of homicide, involuntary manslaughter typically involves circumstances where there was no intent to kill a person, but nevertheless a state feels that the circumstances warrant criminal punishment. States vary widely in their application of involuntary manslaughter laws, as well as resulting punishments.

Tony’s son Joey Mancuso. Photo by Gate Drop

Tony’s son Joey Mancuso. Photo by Gate Drop

Update
This leads me to present to you the most up-to-date articles in the press.

First, this news release comes from the Portland Police Bureau, posted on Flash Alert on August 14th, 2015. (http://pdxfanews.blogspot.com/2015/08/50-year-old-man-indicted-by-grand-jury.html)…

50-Year-Old Man Indicted by Grand Jury in Connection with July 2015 Fight at PIR
On August 11, 2015, a Multnomah County Grand Jury indicted 50-year-old Michael Eugene Taylor on charges of Manslaughter in the Second Degree and Assault in the Second Degree, in connection with the July 2015 death of 61-year-old Anthony Mancuso.

Taylor is expected to turn himself in to police next week and does not represent any risk to the public.

This investigation began on July 9, 2015, at 8:17 p.m., when North Precinct officers responded to the report of an assault at Portland International Raceway, located at 1940 North Victory Boulevard.

Officers and medical personnel arrived and contacted both parties as well as several witnesses. The victim, Anthony Mancuso, was transported to a Portland hospital for treatment. He later died as a result of his injuries.

The suspect, Michael Taylor, was arrested at the scene and charged with Assault in the Fourth Degree. He was later released and the charges dismissed, pending further investigation and a case presentation to a grand jury.

There is also this article by Justin Runquist, Columbian small-cities reporter, which was also published on August 14, 2015. (http://www.columbian.com/news/2015/aug/14/battle-ground-man-indicted-manslaughter-charges-af/)

Battle Ground Man Indicted on Manslaughter Charge
A Battle Ground man was indicted on charges of manslaughter and second-degree assault this week after a fatal confrontation at Portland International Raceway last month.

A Multnomah County grand jury indicted Michael Eugene Taylor, 50, on Tuesday in connection with the death of Anthony Mancuso, 61, of Portland. An autopsy confirmed that Mancuso died after suffering blunt-force head trauma at a motocross event on July 9.

Taylor was arrested at the scene after allegedly punching Mancuso in the face in a fight between two families at the racetrack.

Emergency responders rushed Mancuso to a Portland hospital, where he died later. The impact of Mancuso’s head hitting the ground struck the fatal blow, according to the Oregon medical examiner’s office.

Taylor was originally charged with fourth-degree assault, but the charge was dismissed after Mancuso’s death. Police expect Taylor to turn himself in next week, and they do not believe he poses any risk to the public.

The Mancuso boys – Nick (7) and Joey (356) – race together. Photo by Gate Drop

The Mancuso boys – Nick (7) and Joey (356) – race together. Photo by Gate Drop

In Conclusion… So Far
To conclude this part of my story, I will state that I await further findings and will keep you all abreast of ongoing turns in this case. Please let the editor know your feelings about all this, or feel free to write to me via e-mail at W4SN@yahoo.com – and do not hesitate to contact the investigators if you can give them any more information. We fellow motocross friends are a true family indeed.

Anyone with information about this case should contact Detective Erik Kammerer at 503/823-0762 or erik.kammerer@portlandoregon.gov or Detective Mark Slater at 503/823-9319 or Mark.Slater@PortlandOregon.gov.

R.I.P., Anthony “Tony” Mancuso. I, for one, will miss your smiling face and wonderful demeanor.

Sincerely,
Don L. Schneider

Joey Mancuso says a prayer before a race. Photo by Gate Drop

Joey Mancuso says a prayer before a race. Photo by Gate Drop

In Memoriam
Anthony “Tony” Mancuso was born in Port Hueneme, California, but lived in Portland, Oregon, his entire life.

He is survived by his sons Shane, Joey and Nick; by Joey’s wife, Katie; by his girlfriend of 20 years, Debbie Rommel, and her daughters Syndelle and Ginny Jo; by his sister Terri Clapp and her husband, David; by his stepbrother Chris Helvey and his wife, Julie; by his stepsister Nichole Wynn and her husband, Tyler; and by nine grandchildren.

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