The Chief of Trials in the Bucks County District Attorney’s office, Bob James, says he looked at former Montgomery County lawyer David Manilla’s criminal record in preparing for the case that ended Friday, July 8, with a guilty plea and sentencing, and he saw a disturbing pattern. “I saw a fellow who was often violent, very often extremely reckless when it came to engaging with other persons, especially while hunting, and someone who is extremely arrogant, and I think a combination of his recklessness and arrogance is what led ultimately to the death of Barry Groh.”
The 49-year-old Worcester resident got 10 to 25 years in state prison for shooting and killing hunter Barry Groh of Quakertown last fall as Groh dragged a deer from the woods near a Richland Township property that Manilla owned. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter and other offenses. James says he always had an excuse for all of his run-ins with the law including an aggravated assault, the shooting and wounding of a hunter a few years ago and a 2009 retail theft. James says it boils down to one thing.
“The man’s a liar. I’ll say that because it’s on record that he gave five different responses to the same question.”
He is asking to serve his state prison term in the minimum-security geriatric facility at Laurel Highlands because of serious health problems, but James sees that as another lie.
“This never deterred Mr. Manilla from going hunting every year, or horseback riding. Every one of the interests that he listed in his pre-sentence investigation called for some kind of physical exertion. Now he’s so ill and feeble that he has to go to Laurel Highlands. Well, I hope Classification will see him for what he is and place him where he belongs.”
Manilla was hunting with his uncle, former Montgomery County District Attorney Mike Marino, who said nothing when police went to the shooting scene. James says Marino was not charged with a crime because he did not commit one.
“He didn’t do anything. It’s not a crime not to do anything in Pennsylvania. There was no obstruction of justice. Even Mr. Manilla would agree that Mr. Marino stood by and just watched him basically self-destruct and try to hide evidence and destroy evidence. What Mr. Marino did was morally reprehensible, but it was not illegal.”
James says Marino eventually told police all about Manilla’s cover-up attempts. He appeared Monday on the WNPV talk program Comment Please by Univest.