Chester officer charged with assaulting wife

January 15, 2013 5:38:07 AM PST
A City of Chester police officer is behind bars on charges of aggravated assault and terroristic threats allegedly made against his longtime wife.

Veteran officer Ernest Manerchia was arrested for the second time on Friday at his West Chester home following an armed confrontation with his wife and her boss, police say.

Manerchia was initially arrested back in November by State Police for allegedly brutally attacking his wife by beating and choking her.

"We knew this was a police officer who was involved in SWAT and had guns, so the defendant surrendered 45 guns to the State Police and he was not allowed to go back to the residence," Chester County District Attorney Thomas Hogan said.

After posting $7,500 bail and agreeing to stay away, police say he returned to the house late Friday and grabbed at least three guns he had not surrendered, including a 9 mm handgun and an AK-47 assault rifle.

"When he came into the house, they had taken the magazine out of the gun, he grabbed the gun and put the magazine back in. At which point, a friend of the victim pulled a gun and said, 'just let us get out, just let us get away,'" Hogan said.

A longtime neighbor and friend of the couple is flabbergasted by these incidents.

"I'm completely baffled by it. I have no idea what happened or why he did it or what caused it. I don't know," George Mcvey said.

Manerchia's bail has been set at $350,000.