BRAWLEY, Calif. - The court trial ended on Thursday for 19-year-old Karl Manaig, accused of making criminal threats while still in high school last year. The jury started deliberations. The community speaks out.
Brawley resident Barry Ries said, “A lot of people make threats and you can’t have everybody that’s ever made a threat locked up in prison. At the same time, it could be a clue that something bad is happening and you do want to prevent some sort of actual killing.”
The prosecution argued that words matter coming from someone like Manaig whom they claim had access to 21 firearms at his house and had shown a history of violence since 2nd grade.
“Past history of violence that would make the situation much more scary,” Ries added.
An expert witness on Thursday criticized how police interviewed Manaig, whom the defense said was hungry and without his regular medication during the long interview. Manaig could be seen at times crying or contradicting himself on a video shown in court.
“It’s tough without actually knowing the individual. You really can’t say if it’s overreacting or not,” Ries said.
The defense said in their closing arguments that Manaig only made bad jokes and didn’t mean to hurt anyone. But some in the community said that sometimes it’s hard to tell when someone’s joking and when they’re not.
Bryan Walker, El Centro martial arts instructor, said, “Can you tell if it’s joking or can you tell if that it’s much more serious comment and demeanor or is it a threat.”
The defense also mentioned that Manaig may have been bullied at some time.
“That eventually a person just can’t take it anymore. And eventually that they’re going to bust, they’re going to come out of their shell and then something bad may happen,” Walker said.
Manaig allegedly made criminal threats against two classmates one day after the parkland school shootings in which seventeen people died.
“You’re looking at the threats and you also see the ability to carry them out and that definitely makes the threats more serious,” Ries said.
The jury returns on Friday to continue deliberations.