Man found guilty in Charlotte County cold case murder

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. The man on trial for murder in a cold case spanning more than 15 years was found guilty of first-degree murder.

David McMannis was accused of assisting in the murder of 19-year-old Tara Sidarovich at her Punta Gorda home. He was immediately sentenced to life in prison following his conviction, the state attorney’s office said.

“It has been a long time, but it’s here,” said Sharon Ord, Sidarovich’s mother. “She got the justice she deserved.”

Accomplice Phillip Barr was convicted in 2015 and was also sentenced to life in prison.

The trial lasted nearly five weeks. The jury deliberated for less than an hour.

Tara Sidarovich

Sidarovich was waiting for a plumber when she disappeared in 2001, and her remains were found nine months later in the woods off Burnt Store Road, according to Charlotte County Sheriff’s deputies.

Assistant State Attorney Jennifer Garczewski said McMannis and Barr pretended to be plumbers to get inside Sidarovich’s home.

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

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

The state relied heavily on witness testimony, while the defense contended their statements were inconsistent with the evidence.

Watching the trial unfold was painful for Sidarovich’s family, Ord said.

“It was hard, but we didn’t focus on him sitting there,” she said. “I focused on getting the justice my daughter deserved.”

Sidarovich’s family and prosecutors addressed the verdict Thursday afternoon. WINK News reporter Kristi Gross went live on Facebook with their remarks:

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