Charlotte County cold-case murder trial nears end

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. A cold-case murder trial is coming to a close more than 15 years after the alleged crime.

The state and the defense presented closing arguments Wednesday about the events of Oct. 1, 2001, the day 19-year-old Tara Sidarovich disappeared.

David McMannis is accused of helping Phillip Barr kill Sidarovich at her home while she was waiting for a plumber. Her remains were found nine months later in the woods off Burnt Store Road, deputies said.

Barr was convicted in 2015.

Assistant State Attorney Jennifer Garczewski said the two men pretended to be plumbers to get inside Sidarovich’s home.

Once inside, they killed her, cleaned up and dumped her body, the state contends.

But the defense argued that while McMannis admitted to being at Sidarovich’s home with Barr, McMannis returned home before she was murdered.

While the state relied heavily on witness testimony, the defense believes their statements are inconsistent with the evidence.

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