- The Washington Times - Friday, January 10, 2003

HOUSTON, Jan. 10 (UPI) — A Houston man faces an attempted murder charge for allegedly offering to kill a Wisconsin woman he met through an Internet suicide chat room.

Edward Frank Manuel said he would kill the woman during a sex act and then bury her body in a wooded area in Texas, Houston prosecutors said.

In a hearing Thursday, State District Judge Carol Davies set Manuel's bail at $10,000. If convicted on the attempted murder charge, the 55-year-old defendant could face up to 20 years in prison.

Davies rejected Manuel's request for a court-appointed attorney because his income was too high to qualify. He told the judge he made $48,000 last year as a technical communications consultant and his wife had earned $55,000.

Manuel was arrested Tuesday in Houston after a two-month undercover investigation by Wisconsin state police and the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Manuel told the unidentified woman to travel to Texas and use several different modes of transportation to disguise her movements, according to prosecutor Craig Goodhart. The victim agreed to work with investigators, though.

When the woman arrived at the Houston bus terminal Tuesday, Manuel was waiting in his car, Goodhart said. Investigators found yellow roses and a device that could be used for strangling in the car, he said.

Manuel had promised to take the woman to a state park where they would dig her grave together and he would then strangle her while they had sex, Goodhart said. The defendant then allegedly promised to put roses on her chest and bury her.

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