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95 years in beating death of deaf man


A convicted killer who used a baseball bat to bludgeon a deaf man from behind received a 95-year prison sentence in Allen Superior Court today.

Manuel Silva, previously found guilty by a jury of killing 39-year-old Christopher Deaton last summer, sat shackled in a chair as family members of his victim called him a coward and told him that no matter what punishment befell him, it'd never make up for what he took away.

Afterward, Judge John Surbeck sentenced Silva to the maximum for murder – 65 years – and tacked on another 30 years for Silva's past. With several prior convictions for battery and sexual misconduct with a minor, Silva is considered a habitual offender.

During a trial last month, witnesses told a jury that Silva gathered some friends – at least one woman and two large men – and drove to Deaton's home on Bass Road last May. Deaton and a group of his friends were watching the NBA playoffs.

Silva parked the car down the street and proceeded with his group to the front door of the home.

The woman with Silva knocked on the door. When someone answered, she asked, "Which one is Chris?" according to witnesses. Someone pointed to Deaton, sitting and watching the game.

Silva made his way into the home and struck Deaton from behind while the men with him corralled everyone else into the kitchen. Silva then delivered four or five more strikes to Deaton, according to witnesses.

Deaton died days later.

Silva claimed that Deaton had harmed his 19-year-old daughter, and that Siva was just defending her. Later, during his trial, he claimed he was drunk. During his sentencing hearing Monday, he told the judge he was receiving substance abuse counseling and anger management counseling.

None of that sat well with Deaton's family, though.

They called him a monster and a "menace to society." At times, Silva tried to talk back to them, only to be restrained by an Allen County sheriff's officer.

Several of the family members said they found relief that Silva would be locked up, and relief in their belief that Deaton was in heaven where they'd see him again. But Deaton's sister, Malinda Tinsley, said she didn't want Silva in hell, either, because he'd "enjoy it too much."

Instead, she wanted him in what she called a "middle world," or limbo, where she'd come to haunt him for eternity.

"You have messed with the wrong family," Tinsley said. "This ain't over."