Northeast Times

In court, details emerge in Fishtown murder

Two sus­pects will stand tri­al for the slay­ing of May­fair’s Shane Kelly after a failed rob­bery at­tempt.

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The gun was so little, Shane Kelly’s girl­friend thought it was a toy. The shots were so quiet, John Loftus thought they soun­ded like pops from a cap gun.

But the gun and the bul­lets were real.

Loftus and Kelly’s girl­friend, Maryel­ise Doyne, test­i­fied as eye­wit­nesses last Wed­nes­day at the pre­lim­in­ary hear­ing for two young men ac­cused of shoot­ing Kelly to death on Nov. 13 after a failed rob­bery on a Fishtown street corner.

At the end of the hear­ing, Mu­ni­cip­al Court Judge Teresa Carr Deni ordered Ry­an Mc­Manus, 20, of the 2600 block of Sepviva St., and Richard Smith, 19, of the 1600 block of Eyre St., to stand tri­al for murder.

As the al­leged shoot­er, Mc­Manus is charged with a gen­er­al count of murder, which in­cludes a first-de­gree grad­ing. Smith is charged with second-de­gree murder for al­legedly par­ti­cip­at­ing in the rob­bery at­tempt that led to the killing.

Mc­Manus is also charged with ag­grav­ated as­sault, mul­tiple counts of rob­bery and con­spir­acy. Smith is also charged with mul­tiple rob­ber­ies and con­spir­acy. As­sist­ant Dis­trict At­tor­ney John Doyle is the pro­sec­utor.

The crime oc­curred at about 12:30 a.m. on a Sunday.

Kelly, 27, of the 6300 block of Crafton St. in May­fair, and Doyne, of Fishtown, had spent a few hours at Gir­ard Av­en­ue nightclubs and were walk­ing north­bound on Berks Street to­ward Thompson Street. Doyne was us­ing her mo­bile phone to or­der a pizza and no­ticed two young men walk­ing to­ward them.

The strangers passed the couple, then turned around and walked up be­hind them, Doyne told the court. She and Kelly turned and saw the two would-be rob­bers — one hold­ing a gun and the oth­er hold­ing a white T-shirt over his face in an ob­vi­ous at­tempt to con­ceal it.

The gun­man de­man­ded, “Give us everything [you] have. Empty [your] pock­ets,” while the oth­er guy stood there si­lently, Doyne re­called.

The vic­tims re­treated a bit, but the rob­bers stepped to­ward them, ac­cord­ing to Doyne. Ar­guing en­sued. She warned them that po­lice were on the way.

“I said to them, if you’re go­ing to try and rob us, I’m go­ing to call 911. I have the cops on the phone,” Doyne test­i­fied.

Kelly dared the young­er and smal­ler ban­dits.

“He did say to them, ‘If you’re go­ing to shoot me, shoot me,’” Doyne re­called.

Then Doyne saw a car stop at the corner. She rushed to­ward it and pleaded for help. A male pas­sen­ger, Loftus, emerged from the car.

By that time, the tables had turned on the side­walk. The sus­pects, neither par­tic­u­larly tall and both thin, fled on foot, turn­ing east on Thompson. Kelly, who stood over 6 feet and weighed some 280 pounds, ran after them.

Doyne stayed at Berks and Thompson, speak­ing to a 911 op­er­at­or. Loftus, a con­victed pre­scrip­tion drug deal­er and state pris­on pa­rolee, joined Kelly in the chase.

“The kids turned the corner [onto Thompson Street] and the heavy-set guy is right be­hind them. That’s the first thing I saw,” Loftus told the court.

He was about 20 yards be­hind Kelly, who was gain­ing on the sus­pects. At the next corner, the sus­pects split up, Loftus said. Mc­Manus turned north­bound on Hewson Street. Kelly and Loftus fol­lowed him.

“[Mc­Manus] had a gun. I thought it was a cap gun. He star­ted fir­ing shots,” said Loftus.

Mc­Manus had the weapon aimed “right at” the two pur­suers, ac­cord­ing to Loftus, who was un­aware that Kelly had been hit.

“[Kelly] kept run­ning. He didn’t say noth­ing. Then he just fell. I thought he was out of shape or something,” Loftus said.

At last week’s hear­ing, at­tor­neys did not ask Loftus why he joined the foot chase or why he con­tin­ued chas­ing Mc­Manus even after Kelly had col­lapsed. In his testi­mony, Loftus sug­ges­ted he did not know any of the men per­son­ally — re­fer­ring to them by phys­ic­al de­scrip­tion rather than by name.

Kelly col­lapsed in front of a house at 1340 Hewson St. He had gun­shot wounds of the chest, ab­do­men and left thigh. Po­lice took him to an area hos­pit­al, where he died shortly be­fore 5 a.m. Po­lice later re­covered eight empty .25-caliber bul­let cas­ings from Hewson Street.

Im­me­di­ately after the shots, the gun­man con­tin­ued to run and tried to ma­nip­u­late the slide mech­an­ism on the auto­mat­ic-style weapon as if it had jammed, ac­cord­ing to Loftus.

“The gun nev­er left his hand,” Loftus test­i­fied.

Loftus told the court that he chased Mc­Manus around the neigh­bor­hood in a couple “big circles” be­fore the sus­pect entered a house at 713 Bel­grade St., a half-block from the shoot­ing.

“It looked like he dove in­to the house,” Loftus told the court, adding that the po­lice showed up with­in “split seconds.”

Mc­Manus’ cous­in, Eric Bernatovich, emerged from the corner row­house and ar­gued with Loftus, who dir­ec­ted po­lice to­ward the house.

“Some guy came run­ning out and called me a snitch,” Loftus test­i­fied. “As soon as the guy said it, I was like, ‘The hell with it. I’m out of here.’”

Bernatovich also test­i­fied at last week’s hear­ing, ad­mit­ting, “I called him a snitch.”

At the time he was liv­ing at the Bel­grade Street house with his moth­er, Mc­Manus’ aunt, Bar­bara Gill.

Mum­bling through most of his testi­mony, Bernatovich com­plained that po­lice ini­tially thought he was the gun­man and man­handled him in­to the back of a squad car. The po­lice even­tu­ally re­leased him.

Un­der ques­tion­ing by Smith’s de­fense at­tor­ney, Scott DiClau­dio, Bernatovich ad­mit­ted that he had been in con­tact with both de­fend­ants in the af­ter­math of the shoot­ing, that he knew both were on the run and that he had been asked to cov­er for them.

Bernatovich has not been charged crim­in­ally. He told the court that Mc­Manus ar­rived at his house, took off his jack­et, then left the house.

Later, Smith called Bernatovich by tele­phone and asked him to bring a pair of sweat­pants to a con­veni­ence store on nearby Susque­hanna Av­en­ue, Bernatovich told the court.

Dur­ing the same con­ver­sa­tion, Smith ad­mit­ted that he and Mc­Manus had tried to rob “some girl,” but “some dude came after them,” and Mc­Manus ended up shoot­ing the guy, Bernatovich told the court.

Non­ethe­less, Bernatovich test­i­fied, he went to meet Smith any­way and brought Mc­Manus’ jack­et with him, al­though he had no in­tent of dis­pos­ing of the po­ten­tial evid­ence.

After the dust had settled, Mc­Manus also called Bernatovich and asked if he knew any­thing about the con­di­tion of the shoot­ing vic­tim, ac­cord­ing to Bernatovich.

Bernatovich told Mc­Manus that po­lice said that Kelly had been shot in the chest and leg.

Mc­Manus replied that he had “f–ed up” by shoot­ing Kelly and ab­ruptly ended the call, ac­cord­ing to Bernatovich.

Po­lice ar­res­ted Mc­Manus at his home with­in hours of the shoot­ing and ar­res­ted Smith two days later. ••

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You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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