Christopher Pouncie pleaded guilty Thursday to murdering his neighbor on March 2, 2010 Thursday in a plea deal likely to send him to prison for up to 60 years.
After co-workers at the Adam Broderick Salon reported Laura Mancini missing, police found her body in her Smith Street apartment. The office of the Chief State Medical Examiner said she had been beaten, raped and stabbed to death on March 2 or early on March 3. Mancini and Pouncie were next-door neighbors on Smith Street.
Pouncie agreed to a plea bargain Thursday that will put him in prison for up to 60 years. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison. Sentencing will take place on Feb. 1.
The family of the victim, Laura Mancini, declined to speak in court until his sentencing. Pouncie also declined Judge Blowey's offer to speak until his sentencing.
Pouncie had faced the death penalty from the original charges, which were aggravated sexual assault, home invasion and capital felony murder, among others.
When co-workers realized Mancini hadn't gone to work on March 3, 2010, they visited her home, where they found her car missing and her back door open. They called police who found her dead inside the house. Her car was later recovered near the New York line in Danbury on an I-84 exit ramp.
One telephone call made near midnight on March 3 from Mancini's home phone to a friend of Pouncie tied Pouncie to the murder. Later, evidence piled up, his DNA, which indicated the rape, and other telephone calls. The medical examiner said Mancini had five broken ribs. She had 12 stab wounds on the left side of her neck and two on the right side. Her death was ruled a homicide.
As part of their initial neighborhood canvas, Detectives interviewed the mother of two of Pouncie's children, who at first said he was home that night, babysitting a sick child. About a week later, she admitted Pouncie asked her to lie for him.
Judge John Blawie asked Pouncie a series of questions, including asking if the state's version of the murder were substantially true.
"Yes," Pouncie said.
Judge Blawie said the plea was voluntarily made, the pleas of guilty as to the murder, tampering and larceny were accepted.
Pouncie faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years with a total maximum exposure of 75 years and the expected time incarcerated of 60 years.