The Manley Case Is Solved

Presented By

Bonnie M. Wells

A Guilty Plea


December 20th, 2002 ..... Marietta, Ohio

33 year old Aubrey Alexander Davis appeared before Common Pleas Court Judge Susan Boyer and pled guilty to one count of aggravated murder in the 1992 stabbing death of Ronda Ellen Manley.

His sentence .... Life in prison with the possibility of parole after twenty years. Of course this sentence can not be immediately carried out since Davis is already serving twenty years in Tennessee for a 1998 crime.

Davis confessed to the crime as part of a plea bargain in which the prosecution offered life in prison instead of seeking the death penalty.

According to local news sources Davis gave a detailed account of Ronda's murder and took a polygraph test.

Details Don't Match


I was happy and angry .... all at the same time. The case had weighed heavily on my mind and life for ten solid years, so it was a relief to see it finally closed and to know that at least one more killer was off our streets. That only left half a dozen or so in this tiny back woods area!

But what angered me was the facts as reported by various news sources.

I remembered (and still had all the news clippings of) the original reports. In the beginning Ronda had been stabbed 21 times. Ten years later it was "at least 29 times." No big deal, but it was another of those inconsistencies that continued to occur. That bothered me. I liked precise ... exact ..... no doubt ..... answered questions instead of more questions. I wasn't too likely to get them here though.

DNA Matches


Everyone was bragging on what a good job the police had done in "solving" the crime ..... and in the beginning I agreed. But ever so slowly it occurred to me that just as in the Lisa Burkhammer case, without someone else conducting DNA tests and a confession from the guilty man, this case would never have been solved.

And there was something else that bothered me. According to reports, Aubrey Davis's wife came to Washington County authorities after he was convicted in 2000 and told them that she believed he had killed Ronda Manley. It didn't sound as if anyone had paid any attention what so ever to the woman because he was not questioned by any of our cops until after an agent with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCII) entered his DNA into the FBI's Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) and came back with a match in May of 2002. Even then it was September before anything was done locally.

Police Interview Suspect


Beyond all the normal concerns, there was something that bothered me even more. And that was the interview with Aubrey Davis himself. Officer Greg Nohe said he'd been involved in the Manley case since the beginning of it. That wasn't exactly correct. He wasn't involved in it when I met him in April of 1994, but if I recall correctly (and yes, I do have a witness that also remembers things pretty well) I am the person who told Nohe he was to work the Manley case because it was "his" case to solve.

Looking back, I find it amusing that within a short time Officer Nohe was investigating the Manley case and by 1996 was questioning a young man whose last name was "Davis," and trying to get him to sign a confession to the crime! Thank God that didn't happen. What would we do now?

I immediately informed inside sources that the Davis in question was the wrong man ..... "Turn that kid loose, you got the wrong guy!" The 18 year old Davis wouldn't "confess" to the crime. Eventually authorities realized that he had been 14 years old at the time Ronda was murdered, had not been a resident of their city, had lived twenty miles outside the city and had no driver's license, no vehicle and was in bed asleep because school started the next morning.

Perhaps officer Nohe is "psychic" too. Then again, perhaps there was another reasoning behind the decision .....

The Confession


Aubrey Davis confessed to Detective Nohe on November 12th, 2002. His confession contained the following comments, which are quoted from the December 21-22 Weekend Edition of the Marietta Times news paper.

He said he "walked downtown" ..... "walked up to the college" ...... "walked toward Oak Grove Cemetery" ..... After meeting Ronda near the college, Davis claimed ... "they walked" ...... "walked across the street," ..... "walked toward the cemetery," ..... and even stated that he intended to ...."walk her home."

Seven times the man referred to "walking," or being "on foot."

Nohe apparently questions Davis about "What happened after the murder," and Davis responded ...... "After I got in my car, I ... I sat in the car for a few minutes freaking out and then I decided to get rid of the knife."

CAR ... CAR?!! my mind screamed. I re-read the article ..... two more times. I had not missed anything. I'd not misunderstood anything. The man had swung from being on foot to climbing into a vehicle after stabbing a person 29 times! He had to be a bloody mess.

Okay, I reasoned ..... he must have rushed home and cleaned himself up, cleaned the car out, did his laundry .... washed away all evidence.

Davis informed Nohe that he had sustained a cut on his hand at the time he killed Ronda. I figured......hell, that's even more blood in his "car." He must have worked all night bathing, washing clothes and cleaning out his car ..... but no, his next statement floored me!

He informed Nohe that ...."the place he lived in didn't have any water!"

As far as the cut on his hand was concerned, he told Nohe that he went home after killing Ronda and then went to the hospital the next day.

I had heard long ago that the killer's blood was also found at the murder scene. I didn't know if that was the DNA evidence they were talking about or not. Still, I assumed that one of the investigators contacted (both) hospitals and alerted them to anyone coming in for any kind of knife wound, and to request that authorities be notified immediately should such occur.

Wouldn't that make sense? Only to me, I guess because Aubrey Davis was never considered a suspect in the Manley murder until the DNA match some ten years later!

A Killer's Reasoning

According to Davis, he and his girlfriend had a fight the night he murdered Ronda, and I guess that had something to do with the killing.

Apparently he and his girlfriend got things straightened out because they later married. Years later his wife told a Marietta Times reporter .... "I had always questioned it in my mind," .... and that ... "she turned him in to authorities because she wanted to help the family find some sort of closure."

Experts Say...


Although most noted for their work in "serial killer" cases, FBI Profilers such as John Douglas and Robert Ressler studied all killers, how their minds work and what makes them tick.

According to such experts, almost all serial killers are psychopaths, but not all psychopaths are serial killers. In fact the vast majority of psychopaths are not killers at all. They simply play havoc with the lives of everyone around them.

Experts claim there are "stressors" that trigger a killer's rage ..... especially the serial killer. Some of those stressor's are .... loss of a job / fight with a spouse or lover / a birth in his family / death of someone close / any kind of anxieties that the person can not manipulate or control to his satisfaction.

Although I am not a cop, I have invested years of my life in reading scores of books written by cops and FBI agents. And I've studied serial killers more than the average person even thinks of such things.

Even though I am not a psychopath, I am reasonably certain I can identify psychopathic characteristics and even understand the motives of those who exhibit such traits. In fact, it sometimes seemed to me that I could even predict when such people were going to go bonkers and kill someone.

Come to think of it, I had been the one who predicted the murder of Ronda Manley back in 1992! I was the one who was doing surveillance at that time. Of course I had not been able to name the victim in advance ..... otherwise I would have gone to the girl and warned her. And obviously I had not known "who" the killer was, or I would have gone to the police ahead of time and warned them.

Then again .... I guess I did warn the police. It just didn't do any good.

Questions Remain


There remains many questions and concerns about Ronda Manley's case .... at least in my mind. I don't suppose they will ever be answered ....


The Questions & Comparisons

Bonnie M. Wells

Lookin' For A Killer Series

Dreams Panned-Out Series

Without A Trace Series

The Symbolic Cases

The Pure Coincidence Book Series

Quote Of The Day:

"If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts." --

Albert Einstein

This page posted/updated: 3-11-2003 & 10-18-03 / March 2007 // BMW