What to Know
- "Real Housewives of New Jersey" cast member Dina Manzo and her then-fiance were attacked during a home invasion at their Holmdel townhouse in May 2017
- A judge said Friday that Dina Manzo's former husband, Thomas Manzo, can go free while he awaits trial on charges of stalking her and her fiancée, as well as orchestrating the violent home invasion
- Dina Manzo told investigators one of two masked intruders pushed her against a wall, covered her mouth, threw her to the floor and kicked her before taking her $60,000 engagement ring off her finger
The ex-husband of a “Real Housewives of New Jersey” cast member can go free while he awaits trial on charges of stalking her and her fiancée, as well as orchestrating a violent 2017 home invasion where the TV star's current husband was beaten with a baseball bat and tied up.
The Monmouth County prosecutor today argued that Thomas Manzo should be kept in custody until trial, as a danger to Dina Manzo Canton and the man she subsequently married, David Canton.
Two unknown men broke into the couple's townhouse on Banyan Boulevard in Holmdel in May 2017, and when the couple entered the front door, they were jumped and zip tied. A grand jury returned the indictment against the 56-year-old Manzo, of Franklin Lakes, earlier in May. He is accused of acting as an accomplice to robbery, burglary, aggravated assault, theft and other crimes in the invasion.
Manzo is also charged as the sole actor in two counts of fourth-degree stalking related to the victims. Also named in the indictment: 53-year-old James Mainello, of Bayonne, who is accused of the same crimes as Manzo except stalking. Mainello was previously indicted in 2019 on other charges in the case.
The state argued Manzo's behavior followed a pattern of stalking, while his lawyer argued letters from many prominent people suggest he is no risk to release.
A judge agreed with the defense attorneys, ruling Friday afternoon that Manzo, who faces a federal assault charge as well involving his ex's new husband, can go free until trial with conditions, saying that he is no longer a threat to the couple who now live in California.
According to the investigation, Holmdel Police responded to the townhouse just before 11 p.m. that May night four years ago after getting a 911 call about the attack. They found Dina Manzo and her current husband, who had freed themselves from zip-ties after being attacked with a baseball bat. Dina Manzo's new $60,000 engagement ring was stolen, along with $500 in cash, officials have said.
The initial investigation led to Mainello's arrest in May 2019. Two years later, prosecutors say their investigation ultimately uncovered Thomas Manzo's alleged role in stalking both victims and his motivations for the robbery and assault carried out by Mainello and another still unknown assailant.
Mainello is allegedly one of the two masked intruders who attacked and robbed Dina Manzo and her then-fiancé Dave Cantin in a brutal home invasion, saying, "That's what you get for f---ing with a guy from Paterson" during the attack, according to an affidavit.
Cantin told investigators he and Dina Manzo had just gotten home on May 13, 2017, when one of the suspects charged at him with a baseball bat and attacked him, according to an affidavit provided by prosecutors.
Dina Manzo told investigators one of the suspects pushed her against a wall, covered her mouth, threw her to the floor and kicked her before taking her engagement ring off her finger.
Cantin at one point allegedly tried to shield Manzo's body from being kicked as both were on the floor.
Thomas Manzo turned himself in without incident, prosecutors said Tuesday, and will be held in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution in Freehold pending an initial court appearance, prosecutors said Tuesday.
A detention hearing is expected shortly thereafter. The name of Thomas Manzo's attorney wasn't immediately available.
Manzo and Mainello each face up to 30 years in state prison if convicted of the first-degree robbery and second-degree aggravated assault counts.
Anyone with additional information on the case is asked to call the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office at 1-800-533-7443 or the Holmdel Police Department at 732-946-4400.