By Tony Saavedra-Orange County Register
It took two trials — one lasting 17 months — to convict biker-turned-lawyer Tom Maniscalco and send him to prison in 1994 for killing three people.
Maniscalco, 75, is hoping that in one morning he can persuade a state parole board on Thursday, Aug. 5, to recommend his release from his prison sentence of 46 years to life.
One of the founders of the Hessians motorcycle gang, Maniscalco rode Harleys and practiced law, defending fellow bikers..
He was accused in the May 1980 deaths of two former motorcycle gang members and the 19-year-old girlfriend of one of the victims at a ranch home in Westminster. Maniscalco was in custody 10 years before his conviction and has been eligible for release from prison since 2014.
He was convicted of ordering a hit on Memorial Day weekend of 1980 on Richard “Rabbit” Rizzone, 35, at his home. Rena Arlene Miley, 19, and Rizzone’s friend, Thomas Bernard Monahan, 28, also were shot to death there. All the bodies were found several days later.
The three had been shot multiple times at close range — execution-style, prosecutors later argued. Miley, the daughter of a Los Alamitos police captain, was found on her back, naked and raped.
According to court records, Maniscalco believed Rizzone was ripping him off in his counterfeiting and meth-distribution ring.
Also participating in the slayings was fellow Hessian Daniel “Shame” Duffy, who was convicted of special-circumstances murder and is serving life in prison without the possibility of parole..
Maniscalco’s first trial started in 1990, and ended a year later with a hung jury. A second trial stretched nearly 1 1/2 years,
Eight lawyers represented Maniscalco at one time or another. Four deputy district attorneys — including former District Attorney Tony Rackauckas — were assigned to the prosecution.
Maniscalco was turned down at his first parole suitability hearing in 2013. His hearing Thursday, Aug. 6, will be at 8:30 a.m. via video at Mule Creek State Prison in Ione, California.