The man accused of fatally shooting a Roanoke nursing assistant last month now faces a more serious charge in her death.
Todd Emanuel Manns, 35, was indicted during Monday’s grand jury session on one count of first-degree murder — an increase from his initial charge of second-degree murder — as well as possessing a firearm as a felon and using that weapon to commit a felony.
The charges stem from the slaying of Taniko Belt, 46, who was found late on May 2 in a vehicle that had crashed into a utility pole in the 600 block of Peters Creek Road.
A search warrant in the case said a female victim was in the driver’s seat of a silver 2019 Honda Civic; she had been shot and was pronounced dead at the scene. The car had “multiple gunshots in the windshield, side panel, and back of the vehicle,” according to the warrant.
On Friday, Tracie Cooper, the district administrator for the medical examiner’s office, said the manner of Belt’s death was homicide, caused by “gunshot wounds of the neck, chest and right upper extremity.”
Belt, who is survived by children and grandchildren, worked at a local nursing home.
Police have said Manns and Belt knew each other but have not released additional details of their connection.
A separate search warrant said shell casings were found in the parking lot outside Belt’s apartment building on Panorama Avenue Northwest, about a mile from the scene of the crash.
In yet another search warrant, an investigator wrote that when Manns was arrested by U.S. marshals early May 7, he was accompanied by a woman identified as a girlfriend, who told police that Manns was with her and in North Carolina from April 30 until May 3.
That woman’s cellphone was taken to be examined by investigators, as was a 2016 Jeep Patriot linked to Manns. A subsequent search warrant said two firearms were seized from a vehicle Manns was getting out of when he was arrested.
After being taken into custody, Manns was additionally charged with public exposure and simulated masturbation, and jail records show the alleged offenses involved a female complainant and reportedly occurred as he was being processed.
Manns appeared at a brief hearing Friday morning in Roanoke General District Court, where prosecutors dropped those two charges as well as the count of second-degree murder.