Trial underway for man accused in Alfred Minka murder
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - The murder trial for Todd Maneke, the Kalamazoo man accused of murdering his neighbor more than four years ago, started Wednesday.
Alfred Minka, 88, was found face down in a pool of blood with a bag over his head inside his home on Brookmont Drive in Kalamazoo on August 23, 2013.
Crime scene photos presented by the prosecution show 88-year-old Minka sprawled out on the floor between the living room and front entryway. The autopsy found Minka was hit several times in the back of the head and named blunt force trauma as the cause of death.
Investigators say money to buy drugs was the motive behind his murder.
Court documents show Maneke admitted to police that he had "extreme financial difficulties" and "a crack cocaine addiction."
In court, the defense presented its case, and Maneke’s attorneys seemed to suggest that the victim’s children benefited financially from their father’s death.
Two of the victim’s three children testified in court Wednesday, along with the KDPS officers who were first on the scene.
The prosecution presented dash camera footage to the court, it shows the suspected murderer, Maneke and his wife, Danielle Maneke, standing in the victim’s driveway.
In the video, Maneke can be heard telling the officer they went to check on their elderly neighbor, saw his body and called 911.
Investigators say Maneke is the one who killed him.
Several times the defense referenced the clothing Maneke is wearing in that video— “a clean, white,” t-shirt with cutoff sleeves.
Maneke told police at the scene that Minka asked him to take him to the grocery store.
On the dash camera footage, Maneke explained he drove Minka’s car but the two turned around after Minka began to feel sick.
Maneke told police he brought him back home, and then went to check on him later.
According to court documents, Maneke later admitted to police that was a lie, and he took Minka’s car to go buy drugs.
The victim’s son, Imants Minka told the court his father told him he would lend Maneke $50 at a time. Imants testified he told his father that was not a good idea but his father said he’d stop lending they money if Maneke didn’t pay him back.
Minka’s oldest son, Imants Minka told the court his father kept cash in his home. He explained Minka would withdraw $1,000 and then go back to the bank when that cash had been spent.
The victim’s son said Minka moved the money to a different hiding spot in his house after $500 went missing from his dresser drawer in June of 2013, about two months before his death.
The defense questioned the victim’s children on who had keys to the house and who knew where the money was hidden.
The defense also noted the 88-year-old did not have a will and based on testimony Wednesday, we know Minka had somewhere between $65,000-$100,000 in the bank when he was killed.
The first officer at the scene of the murder that night said the lights and TV were on inside the home. There were no signs of forced entry and aside from the blood spattered walls and the body on the floor, police say the house looked to be in normal order.
While questioning KDPS officers, the defense suggested the police focused in on Maneke early on in the investigation and failed to follow up on other leads.
The trial will continue Thursday and is expected to last two weeks.