Domestic violence victims say they'll move out of state when batterer released

Two women who had long-term relationships with 38-year-old Michael Manifold said at his sentencing today in New London Superior Court that in order to feel safe, they plan to move out of state after he is released from prison.

Manifold had pleaded guilty to possession of narcotics, violation of a protective order, disorderly conduct and violation of probation in exchange for a prison sentence of seven years, suspended after three years served, followed by three years of probation.

He was on probation for holding a dagger to his ex-wife's throat and threatening to kill her and four children in Colchester in January 2010 when he committed a string of crimes, according to prosecutor Lawrence J. Tytla.

In November 2013, probation officers conducting a routine visit to his home in Lebanon found in his possession a bag of powder cocaine, a digital scale and other drug-dealing paraphernalia.

"He admitted he was dealing to support his children and he was going to be out of the game in a couple of weeks," Tytla said.

Despite a protective order prohibiting him from contact with one of his victims, he sent her communications on Facebook, according to Tytla. In a June 2013 incident, he kicked down a door during a dispute about one of his children that involved a knife.

"The defendant is a pathological liar, a sociopath who will prey on anybody who is weak," said his ex-wife, Christine Deziel.

Billy Jo Zaks, mother of his three children, called him a predator who preys on women and children. She said during their 14 years together he held knives to her throat, held a gun to her head, beat her and ran her car off the road with their children in his car.

"He's a liar and he's a manipulator," said Zaks, who is involved in a custody dispute with Manifold involving their children.

Manifold, sniffling, said he was sorry for violating his probation.

"These were my choices and my choices alone," he said.

Judge Hillary B. Strackbein told him he has the rest of his life to make better choices. She imposed permanent protective orders prohibiting him from having contact with Deziel and her son and Zaks. She said there would be zero tolerance for violations while Manifold is on probation.

"If you think being a good father is selling drugs to get (the children) money, how did that work out?" Strackbein said.


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