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Cleared: AG says man acted in self-defense when he fatally stabbed another man in Durham in 2017

Union Leader Correspondent

September 08. 2018 9:57PM
Bailey Manning fatally stabbed Michael Barrett last year at this home at 18 Edgewood Road in Durham. The Attorney General's office has ruled that Manning acted in self-defense, so no homicide charges will be brought against him. (Kimberley Haas/Union Leader Correspondent file photo)

DURHAM - Law enforcement officials have determined that a 22-year-old who fatally stabbed another man in Durham last year was justified when he used deadly force.

In a 19-page report issued by the state Attorney General's office Friday, investigators laid out the moments leading to Michael Barrett's death on March 11, 2017.

Just before 1 a.m., a renter at the house called 911 to report a disturbance at 18 Edgewood Road. The caller told a dispatcher there was a fight and they thought someone was injured.

When Durham police officers arrived at the scene, they discovered Bailey Manning outside the home with his hands above his head. He was ordered to the ground and told police, "He's hurt. He's hurt really bad."

Manning said Barrett went crazy before Manning stabbed him with a knife during an altercation inside the home.

"It was self-defense," he said. "I think he's on drugs or something."

Barrett was covered in blood and slumped against the open front door. He could not be resuscitated and was pronounced dead at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover at 1:54 a.m.

Police discovered broken items in the living room, including a window, pedestal lamp and bong. The bathroom mirror appeared to be ripped off the vanity.

Manning was interviewed by police and told them he knew Barrett from playing baseball with him as a child and they had recently reconnected at a party at Manning's house.

Barrett was born in Portsmouth and graduated from Dover High School in 2013. He was not a student at the University of New Hampshire when he died.

Manning was a UNH student and an American Legion baseball star while in high school, according to records.

According to the report, mutual friend Carter Moore reached out to Manning about getting two ounces of cocaine for Barrett. Manning got the cocaine and Moore told police he picked it up March 9 or 10.

Moore and Barrett showed up at 18 Edgewood Road around 10:30 p.m. March 10 because Barrett was unhappy with the quality of the cocaine. Moore told police Manning offered to exchange it.

Inside Manning's bedroom, Barrett snorted a line of cocaine with him. Just before midnight, the three went into the living room where renter Edward Suraci was watching basketball.

According to Manning and Suraci, Barrett began drinking whiskey and weighed out the cocaine while talking about AR-15 guns. He also discussed how he survived a fiery DWI car crash where he was left to die by the driver in 2015.

Suraci said Barrett was smoking pot when Suraci decided to go to his room.

Moore took off for a party at "The Cottages" and Manning agreed to drive Barrett home. But when he got his keys, Barrett's demeanor changed, the report says.

Barrett allegedly "chested" Manning into a corner and when Suraci came into the living room, Barrett ran into the bathroom where he smashed the bathroom mirror. Manning and Suraci ran into Suraci's room and locked the door.

The report says they could hear Barrett screaming, "I'm gonna kill these two (expletives)."

Manning ran to his bedroom to get his knife. After he retrieved it, Barrett allegedly started to run toward him with a piece of shattered mirror and a fight began.

According to the report, Manning told investigators he stabbed Barrett in his side and twice in the legs. He dropped a glass bong on Barrett's head before he ran behind the rectangular folding table located in the kitchen.

Suraci called police during the incident and when they arrived, Manning went outside to surrender.

Moore was later interviewed by police and told them that prior to Barrett's death, he was getting cocaine for him every other week. Moore was good friends with Manning and would get the drugs from him.

Police found $2,800 hidden in Manning's couch from the sale to Moore for Barrett on March 9 or 10.

An autopsy concluded Barrett suffered stab wounds to the left side of his back, his left thigh and his lower right leg. The stab wound to the back perforated Barrett's left lung and caused his death, Dr. Jennie Duval, the chief medical examiner, determined.

Toxicology tests revealed Barrett had a high level of cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana and alcohol in his system when he died.

Authorities believe Barrett had excited delirium from the cocaine. This condition is marked by sudden bizarre and violent behavior, paranoia, unusual strength and mirror or glass attraction.

New Hampshire law states that a person is justified in using deadly force when they believe someone is about to use unlawful, deadly force against them or a third person.

"Both Suraci and Manning similarly describe Barrett's continued aggression and his swinging of the floor lamp over his head. Both recounted instances where Barrett was on top of Manning, Manning's continued insistence that Suraci call 911 and Suraci's actual call to 911," the report said.

"A person in Manning's position could have reasonably believed that Barrett was using unlawful, deadly force against him," the report continues.

No homicide charges will be brought against Manning.

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