Killer Teen Was 'Beating Heart' of Nightmares, St. Louis Prosecutors Say

Testimony in Prinshun McClain's triple-murder trial began this afternoon

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click to enlarge Prinshun McClain booking photo.
St. Louis Metropolitan Police
Prinshun McClain booking photo.

A teenager accused of killing two women in their 20s and a child over the course of half a day last August went on trial this afternoon in St. Louis.

Assistant Circuit Attorney Natalia Ogurkiewicz told the jury that the triple-murder trial of Prinshun McClain, 19, would be "a story of nightmares" and that McClain was the "beating heart of those nightmares."

In her opening statement, Ogurkiewicz said that on the evening of August 10, 2021, McClain stalked 26-year-old aspiring actress Victoria Manisco as she travelled home via MetroLink and then a city bus.

She said that when Manisco stepped off the bus she was aware of McClain following her and that she hurried to the home in Carondelet where she lived with her brother.

When Manisco reached her front door, Ogurkiewicz says, she was "shot her in the head by [McClain] and left there to die."

A police probable cause statement says that the murder is believed to have happened a little before 11 p.m.

Manisco's brother discovered her body the following morning. His harrowing 911 call was played for the jury.

"My sister is dead on my front porch," he tells the dispatcher. "She's not moving. She's completely cold."

"Oh my God. She's gone. Holy fuck. Holy fuck."

In her opening statement, Ogurkiewicz said that about 12 hours after killing Manisco, McClain went to a house in the 4200 block of Pleasant Street in the Fairgrounds neighborhood where his grandmother lived on the first floor. Terri Bankhead, 27, and her 8-year-old daughter Da'Nilya Edwards lived on the second.

In the morning hours of August 11, Ogurkiewicz says, McClain bound the mother and daughter with a black phone cord before he shot Bankhead in the neck and Edwards in the face, killing them both.

Ogurkiewicz referred to the killings as "executions."

McClain had no connections to any of the victims beyond his grandmother's residency. He had lived with his grandmother beneath Bankhead and Edwards for about a month, sleeping on the couch.

Ogurkiewicz used much of her opening statement to list the voluminous evidence that she said would be presented against McClain in the coming days, including video footage from doorbell cameras from both the Carondelet and the Fairgrounds neighborhoods, as well as surveillance footage from public transit. Ogurkiewicz also said that jurors would be shown ballistics evidence, as well as DNA evidence from both the murder weapon and the blue Lacoste bag McClain carried with him.

She said that McClain sent text messages after the murder of Manisco.

"This my exact," he allegedly wrote in a text message, with a screenshot of an address a block away from where Manisco was killed. "Let me know when you get here."

Public defender Lucas Cusack was relatively brief in his opening statement. He encouraged the jury to remember "intent and identity" when weighing the evidence that would be presented to them over the course of the trial.

"You're going to see evidence that makes you said, makes you angry," he said, but added that he didn't expect they would hear from anyone who actually saw the killings happen.

One of the first witnesses called by the prosecution was McClain's grandmother, who had a doorbell camera installed at her house, footage the state will use against her grandson.

In an interview last year with KSDK, Manisco's brother encouraged the public to donate to Crossroad College Prep Theater, where he said his late sister's acting career had blossomed.

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About The Author

Ryan Krull

Ryan Krull is a staff writer for the Riverfront Times. Find him on Twitter @ryanwkrull
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