LOS ANGELES — A founder of a Southern California motorcycle club who killed three people in 1980 is to be released this week after a terminal cancer diagnosis, prosecutors said last Thursday.
Thomas Maniscalco, 77, has been incarcerated for nearly 40 years after his 1994 conviction for three counts of second-degree murder, with enhancements because he was armed with a firearm, according to state prison officials. He was sentenced to life in prison and was paroled twice.
He was released under California’s compassionate release law, which was amended last year to allow inmates to be released if they have a serious and advanced illness with an end-of-life trajectory.
Maniscalco was a co-founder of the Hessian Motorcycle Club. Prosecutors said Maniscalco thought Richard Rizzone, another Hessian, was framing him in a ring for distributing counterfeit and meth.
Rizzone, his 19-year-old girlfriend Rena Miley, and his bodyguard Thomas Monahan were killed in the 1980 Memorial Day bombing at Rizzone’s home in Westminster, about 25 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles. All three were shot multiple times at close range.
Prosecutors said Miley, the daughter of a police officer, and Monahan were killed so the killers could avoid witnesses.
Maniscalco and a fellow Hessian were convicted of the massacre. A third motorcyclist was killed by Oklahoma police before charges could be filed.
Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said Maniscalco, who will be released to his daughter who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, poses a threat to public safety.
“He has taken no responsibility for the lives he has destroyed and soon he will be a free man with nothing to lose,” Spitzer said in a press release.
The state corrections department declined to comment Thursday. It was not immediately clear whether Maniscalco had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf.