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Gazette Premium Content Love triangle shooter guilty in second degree

LANCE BENZEL Updated: October 2, 2012 at 12:00 am

An El Paso County jury on Tuesday convicted a Calhan man of second-degree murder in a love-triangle killing packed with made-for-TV intrigue.

Mark Manyik, 48, also was found guilty of aggravated robbery and evidence-tampering in the Oct. 22, 2011, slaying of Robert Miles — a romantic rival who was drunkenly lured to Manyik’s home by a woman’s promises of sex and a home-cooked meal only to be met by a shotgun-wielding Manyik.

Prosecutors say Manyik shot the unarmed man outside the front door and tried to pass it off as a self-defense shooting under Colorado’s so-called “Make My Day” law.

Miles, who lived within a few minutes’ drive, bled to death aboard an emergency helicopter bound for a Colorado Springs hospital.

Although Manyik pulled the trigger, his then-girlfriend Traci Lynn Adams was accused of formulating the trap and supplying the bait — promising Miles, an ex-boyfriend, that Manyik was away from their shared home on a hunting trip, leaving them an empty house for a night of “birthday sex” and a candlelit dinner.

Adams is serving a life term in prison after being convicted of first-degree murder at a separate trial in August.

Before the attack, the victim told his roommates of Adams’ offer and ignored their warnings it could be a trap.

Manyik, a former trucker with no prior convictions, faces up to 48 years on the murder conviction and up to 32 for aggravated robbery. Fourth Judicial District Judge Theresa Cisneros will impose sentence Nov. 26.

The aggravated robbery charge stemmed from allegations that Manyik helped dispose of Miles’ cellular phone to hide evidence of phone calls and text messages used to lure Miles to his death.

Tuesday’s verdict capped nearly 20 hours of deliberations spread across three days. The eight-woman, four-man jury acquitted Manyik of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

A first-degree murder conviction would have required the jury to believe that Manyik’s actions were pre-mediated.

“We’re obviously really disappointed in the verdict, and we will be appealing,” said his attorney, Allison Ernst of Pueblo. Defense attorneys argued that Manyik was manipulated into the killing by Adams, whom they branded a “Black Widow.”

The defense team said Adams convinced Manyik she was in danger — claiming that Miles wanted her dead at a time when she was secretly meeting the victim for sex behind Manyik’s back.

“I think we are satisfied with the verdicts, and I think justice was done,” said prosecutor Andrew S. Vaughan, adding that any sentence imposed by Judge Cisneros is likely to amount to life behind bars for Manyik.

Prosecutor Jim Bentley said the second-degree murder conviction was fitting given the manipulation and double-dealing by Adams.

“The one who planned it and came up with all of it was the co-defendant, who was convicted of first-degree murder,” Bentley said. “The bottom line is, she told him, ‘He’s gonna kill me,’ and he believed her.”

Manyik initially went on trial for Miles’ death in June but it was cancelled when the Waldo Canyon fire threatened Judge Cisneros’ home.

Contact Lance Benzel: 636-0366 Twitter @lancebenzel

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