YOUNGSTOWN - The man accused of killing a man in a relationship with his ex-girlfriend pleaded guilty to murder charges Monday, the day his trial was scheduled to begin.
Marco Cardenas, 23, of Plymouth Avenue, was sentenced to serve 21 years to life in prison by Mahoning County Common Pleas Judge R. Scott Krichbaum after Cardenas pleaded guilty to aggravated murder, felonious assault and aggravated burglary.
Cardenas is accused in the Oct. 9 fatal shooting of Jack T. Manigault, 40, of Market Street. Manigault was the brother of reality television star Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, a Youngstown native who became famous for appearing on NBC's "The Apprentice."
Manigault's family approved the plea agreement reached by prosecutors and defense attorney Louis DeFabio.
According to witnesses, Cardenas pushed his way through the door at his former girlfriend's 23 E. Judson Ave. home, walked upstairs, shot Manigault and beat his girlfriend, Tamica Riley, 34, with a gun before being forced from the home by a 13-year-old male living there.
Riley told officers she was sleeping and was awakened by the gunshots. She said after Manigault ran downstairs, Cardenas struck her in the back of the head with the gun.
Cardenas then ran downstairs and pointed the gun at Manigault, but the 13-year-old grabbed his hand. Cardenas, according to the teen, said to him, "Let me finish him." The teen then wrestled with Cardenas and pushed him out of the house.
Police arrived and found Manigault lying naked with a gunshot wound and a trail of blood leading to the upstairs bedroom.
Riley told officers she had an active protection order against Cardenas and that they had ended their relationship two months prior.
About 40 minutes after the shooting, officers went to check on Cardenas' residence after someone called dispatch claiming to be Cardenas. Reports said the caller told the dispatcher he wasn't going to jail.
Officers spotted Cardenas early the next morning near the pavilions at the old Pyatt Street Market. After chasing him, Cardenas told police, "You better shoot me. You're going to have to kill me," reports said.
Officers took him into custody at gunpoint and transported him to the Mahoning County Jail.