Ex-Cop Sentenced to Life in Prison for Torture Chamber Conspiracy

Originally published on December 14, 2014, at NationofChange.org

A former Chicago police officer has been sentenced to life in prison for plotting to kidnap, torture, extort, and murder a businessman to acquire his real estate holdings. Steven Manning, who changed his name to Steven Mandell, received a life sentence and the death penalty years ago for kidnapping two drug dealers and murdering a truck company owner, but those convictions were overturned on legal grounds involving the admissibility of evidence at his trials, not because of innocence. Although they cannot prove his guilt, law enforcement officials believe Manning has murdered at least eight people since resigning in disgrace from the Chicago Police Department.

In 1983, Officer Manning was convicted on theft charges involving an auto insurance fraud scheme using luxury cars. After his conviction, Manning resigned from the police department and began working for a drug dealer named Anthony Mammolito. In 1984, Mammolito hired Manning, former Willow Springs police officer Gary Engel, and Thomas McKillip to rob a rival drug dealer named Charles Ford. Posing as federal drug agents, Manning, Engel, and McKillip kidnapped Ford and his associate Mark W. Harris.

Blindfolded, Ford and Harris were held captive for 14 hours until Ford’s sister paid $55,000 for their ransom. The kidnappers released them in a cemetery next to an open grave. Ford and Harris never reported the incident fearing retaliation and a possible investigation into their own illegal activities.

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