FAIRBANKS—A Fairbanks federal jury found Guy Christopher Mannino guilty of three of five charges of solicitation to commit murders of a witness and federal officers on Friday.
The jury deliberated for nine hours before finding Mannino guilty of trying to hire Julius "J.T." Chambers to kill Mannino's former-friend-turned-government-witness, an FBI agent and a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent.
Mannino, a former chiropractor, gun dealer and explosives expert, was acquitted of trying to solicit the murder of his former attorney and a second ATF agent.
All five were involved in a 2013 case in which Mannino was charged with six counts of illegal transfer and possession of weapons for trying to hire his friend to kill a local attorney who was representing an opponent in a lawsuit.
Mannino thought he was going to lose the case, so he promised the acquaintance several illegal firearms as payment for the hit, according to court records. The man notified authorities and agreed to act as an informant against Mannino. The plot was never carried out and Mannino was not charged with soliciting murder in that case. He eventually pleaded guilty to three of the six firearms counts and an additional charge of concealing bankruptcy assets.
Mannino was at Fairbanks Correctional Center awaiting sentencing in the case when he learned the murder plot would be considered “relevant conduct” and taken into account during the sentencing. According to the prosecution, Mannino approached his jailhouse friend, Chambers, to kill the witness and prevent him from testifying at the sentencing hearing.
Mannino also asked Chambers to kill the three agents as retaliation for their part in the investigation and to kill his former federal public defender for her perceived mishandling of his case, according to a government trial brief.
Chambers testified Tuesday that he initially agreed to the plot but changed his mind after Mannino discussed putting explosives in the witness' disabled daughter's wheelchair. He approached authorities, who arranged to record conversations between the two men in which they discussed details of the plot.
Assistant District Attorney Joseph Bottini played recordings of Mannino speaking to a friend on the phone at FCC as well as recordings of Chambers and Mannino discussing the plot in the prison’s law library, which had been bugged after Chambers contacted authorities.
In the recordings, Mannino could be heard telling Chambers where to get guns and explosives, how to get out of state and promising him he had arranged to have him flown to Nicaragua.
Mannino is scheduled to be sentenced on May 13.
Bottini said he was satisfied with the verdict.
"They were a very attentive jury. They went at it hard and paid attention. I think the verdict makes sense," Bottini said.
Mannino's attorney, Scott Dattan, said he felt "terrible" about the verdict. He described Mannino as a "talkative, engaging person" who "always had something to say to everybody."
"As soon as I took his case I told him to stop talking to people, but unfortunately he never did," Dattan said. "I think this was a case of jailhouse braggadocio, but the government took it seriously."
Contact staff writer Dorothy Chomicz at 459-7582. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMcrime.