MANN-hunt story earns Falmouth Outlook two awards

  • Police awaited directions during the hunt for Justin Mann. Keith Smith
    Police awaited directions during the hunt for Justin Mann. Keith Smith
  • Keith Smith
    Keith Smith

On a Monday morning in which Falmouth Outlook is generally going to press, a breaking news story caused a "Stop the Presses" moment. Editor Keith Smith spent the morning with several law enforcement agencies as they hunted for Justin L. Mann. The news coverage was honored with two awards for Breaking News.

In Best Breaking News Coverage, Smith won first place with his story. The story is below.

In Best Breaking News Picture, he won first place also. The judge said, "A great example of telling a story with photos. Even if there were no words on the page, I would know exactly what happened. Excellent work!"


    Pat Porter awoke Monday morning to Justin L. Mann, her neighbor who lived just a few feet away, beating on her front door.
    “I yelled at him ‘Justin, quit beating on my door and go away,’” she said.
    At that point, Porter retreated to her bedroom to retrieve her pistol. When she returned to her living room, Mann was in her house. He had broken through the front door window. He wanted the keys to her car.
    “I told him I was not giving him the keys to my car and to get out of my house,” said Porter.
    According to her, Mann rifled through things looking for the keys and repeating that he needed the keys to her car.
    Mann made his way through the house and out to the garage with Porter pointing her pistol at him.
    Holly Godman was driving past on the way to her work when  she noticed the door was broken open,  and then saw Porter pointing her pistol at Mann.
    She pulled into the driveway, and Mann took off through the yard and field. Porter told her what Mann had done, and Godman drove through the field toward Mann.
    Godman saw Mann raising a weapon at her, and she said she could not reach her gun in her car. She hit him with her vehicle.
    Mann got up off the ground, gathered his backpack and took off over the hill.
    After police were contacted, a barn close to both homes caught on fire. Falmouth Fire Department responded, dousing the barn that ended up being a total loss.
    With Pendleton County Sheriff’s Office on scene and members of Falmouth Police Department and Kentucky Police responding, officers began to search barns and buildings in the area.
    Falmouth officer Mark Branham contacted K9 units from Newport Police and Campbell County Detention Center.
    Kenton County also sent their drone unit to assist.
    As the officers staged, the drone unit began to search the adjacent woods. As the drone was searching dispatch received a 911 call about a male who was lying in the weeds of his house on Hogg Ridge.
    The description from the call matched the description they had been given regarding Mann.
    It was not the first time law enforcment had been involved with Mann.
    Last week, they had responded to his residence for a domestic call, and on Wednesday, April 22, he had been charged with Criminal Mischief 1st degree two counts, Operating a motor vehicle under influence of drugs/alcohol 1st offense, Fleeing or Evading police 2nd degree (on foot), Public intoxication controlled substance excludes alcohol and TBUT or disp all others under $500.
    With Mann on the run and apparently having made his way over the hills and valleys from Highway 22 to Hogg Ridge Road, police units raced to the area.
    James Butcher’s two dogs were going crazy in his house. He wandered outside and at first did not see anything.
    Then he noticed a male lying in the tall weeds in black jeans, black shoes and camo.
    Mann had been carrying a backpack. Police had been told that he carried camo clothing, a Bible and deodorant in the backpack.
    “I thought he was dead,” Butcher told the Falmouth Outlook. “But then I saw him moving. I told him to get up, and he got up and ran over the hill.”
    With a fresh scent, the K9 unit was in a frantic search with officers following along with them.
    At the same time, a call came into 911 about a stolen red Toyota Tundra truck  in the same general area of Hogg Ridge Road.
    Law enforcement officers expanded their search, including the neighboring roads, and alerted Campbell County to be on the alert for the vehicle after another 911 call indicated the vehicle had been seen heading toward Butler.
    Mann had never left the area, and two hours into the search, officers   spotted him and had him on the run.
    Police cornered Mann by the bridge on Hogg Ridge, and Branham and Pendleton County Deputy Sheriff Tish Dietz  placed Mann in custody.
    Mann was charged by Pendleton County Sheriff’s Office with arson, burglary two counts, wanton endangerment, fleeing and evading and resisting arrest