Thursday, September 21, 2017 Elyria 79°


Accused LCCC arsonist on the run again


ELYRIA — Drew Manns, the man accused of starting a February 2009 fire that caused more than $8.4 million in damage to Lorain County Community College, is on the run again.

Manns, 29, is wanted on a theft charge out of Elyria Municipal Court for allegedly withdrawing $7,000 from his mother’s bank account on Monday, according to court records.

In a motion filed Tuesday seeking to cancel Manns’ $50,000 bond in the arson case, County Assistant Prosecutor Laura Dezort wrote that his mother, Wanda Campolo, believes her son has fled the area. Manns is due in court next week for a hearing on whether to revoke his bond.

Dezort wrote that Campolo told her that early Monday that Manns had taken her cell phone and submerged it in water and then left. Campolo also worried that her son might be suicidal because he was despondent over the March death of his infant child.

Manns suffers from damage to the frontal lobe of his brain and other problems because his mother took the acne treatment drug Accutane while he was in her womb. Campolo later received a financial settlement over the damage the drug did to her son.

On Tuesday, Campolo contacted Dezort again and told her about the theft from her bank account. Prosecutors believe that Manns won’t show for a scheduled Aug. 5 pretrial in the arson case.

“Assuming that his mother’s assessment of his mental state is accurate, the Defendant feels he has nothing to lose and therefore is not concerned about the repercussions of his nonappearance at Court,” Dezort wrote.

Manns also might be a danger to himself and society in general, she wrote.

“The State has information that (the arson) was committed because the Defendant was upset with certain people in his life,” Dezort wote. “The Defendant’s history of criminal behavior demonstrates that when the Defendant commits crimes, they often follow an upsetting or stressful incident in his life.”

County Prosecutor Dennis Will said Manns is also under investigation for involvement in illegally processing drug documents to obtain prescription drugs.

Prior to the LCCC fire, Manns was perhaps best known for his 2007 escape from the Lorain/Medina Community Based Correctional Facility. He was recaptured following a three-hour standoff with Elyria police.

After his arrest at his parents’ house, Manns escaped from EMH Elyria Medical Center, but was caught hiding in a trash bin about an hour later.

He was sentenced to three years in prison on the escape charges as well as unrelated cases in which he was accused of throwing urine at a fellow inmate in the Lorain County Jail and that he had illegally tried to purchase a gun.

Manns originally was charged with the arson in 2009, but that charge was dropped before he was sent to jail so police and fire officials could do more work on their investigation. He was released from prison in October 2011, but wasn’t charged with aggravated arson until July 2012.

Jay Milano, Manns’ attorney, did not return a call seeking comment Friday.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or

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