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Lawyer Admits Clerk’s Guilt in Clothing Store Murders

April 21, 1996

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) _ A clerk who liked to act out role-playing fantasies strangled a mother and daughter who came into his store to buy baby clothes, the man’s attorney acknowledged Saturday.

But Caleb Fairley should not be convicted of first-degree murder because he didn’t plan the slayings, attorney Thomas C. Egan III told the jury during opening statements at Fairley’s trial.

Fairley ``had no clue who Lisa and Devon Manderach were,″ Egan said. ``He had never met them before. You will find a complete absence of any plan, any scheme here.″

Fairley, 22, a beefy man who liked to dress up in vampire clothes and play Dungeons & Dragons and other role-playing games, killed Lisa Manderach, 29, and her daughter, Devon Marie, 19 months, in the back of his mother’s clothing store on Sept. 10, prosecutors say.

Devon’s body was found in Valley Forge National Park. Her mother’s corpse was in the woods behind an industrial complex, nude except for a black lace top.

With an admission of guilt, motivation becomes the central issue for the jurors. First-degree murder carries a life sentence.

The prosecution made a deal with Fairley not to seek the death penalty in exchange for the location of Mrs. Manderach’s body. The information, provided by Fairley’s attorney at the time, will not be used against him at trial.

Prosecutor Ed Campbell said Fairley’s intent was clear because it took so long to suffocate his victims.

Also, DNA samples collected under the Mrs. Manderach’s fingernails match Fairley, who was arrested with deep scratches on his face.

Fairley went out dancing at a club the night of the killings and told friends he got the scratches while mosh dancing, Campbell said.

``This death was born out of his lust,″ the prosecutor said. ``Lust and cover-up _ that’s what this case is about.″

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