Mann remains in jail on poisoning charge despite father’s plea
By Eric Fleischauer
For the Enquirer
Despite a plea from his father, a chiropractor accused of poisoning his wife failed in his efforts to be released on bond in time for Christmas.
The next scheduled Morgan County Circuit Court appearance for Brian Thomas Mann, 34, a Hartselle resident who has a chiropractic practice in Decatur, is Jan. 9, more than four months after his arrest on a charge of attempted murder.
Mann dismissed his Huntsville lawyer and hired Decatur attorney Britt Cauthen, but Cauthen has also been unsuccessful in convincing Morgan County Circuit Judge Charles Elliott to release his client from jail.
Cauthen’s latest effort, this month, focused on the issue that Elliott has said in court causes him the most concern: a missing passport.
Mann was arrested Sept. 2 and released on $500,000 bond Sept. 7 with conditions that included turning in his guns, wearing an ankle monitor and surrendering his passport. Mann met the other conditions, but Elliott revoked his bond Sept. 14 due to his failure to surrender the passport. Mann’s previous and current lawyers have said the passport is either lost or stolen, and that the bond requirement of an ankle monitor negates any risk of flight.
In a November motion asking the judge to reconsider his previous revocation of bond, Cauthen attached State Department rules stating that once a passport is reported lost or stolen, “the passport is no longer valid and must not be used for travel.”
In the same motion, Mann’s lawyer asserted that the only way to obtain State Department verification that Mann’s passport had been revoked was for the court to send a letter requesting passport status.
Elliott at a Nov. 14 hearing refused to allow Mann’s release from jail but advised the defendant that he had made the formal request to the State Department.
In a Dec. 16 motion, Mann’s lawyer suggested no response was likely.
“It is doubtful, at this juncture, that the State Department is going to pay any attention to the Court or the Defendant with regard to acknowledging this revocation,” Cauthen wrote.
According to a pending divorce case filed by his wife, Mann poisoned her by “intentionally causing her to unwittingly ingest particles of lead,” leading to her hospitalization from Jan. 18 to March 3. Mann has denied the allegation, but a grand jury indicted him for attempted murder.
In written questions submitted July 14 in the divorce case, Mann was asked to describe the contents of “the dietary supplement you provided to your wife during the late summer of 2021 through the winter of 2021-2022.”
Mann was also asked to admit that he held five life insurance policies payable upon his wife’s death that collectively had death benefits of $1.3 million. He was additionally asked to admit that on Dec. 4 he applied for two different $750,000 life insurance policies payable upon his wife’s death, both of which applications were denied.
The divorce proceedings are one reason Mann’s lawyer asserts that Mann should be released from jail. Cauthen replaced Mann’s previous lawyer in the divorce case, which also is being heard by Elliott.
“The Defendant has been in jail since Sept. 15, 2022, and is suffering irreparable economic loss as a result,” Cauthen wrote in a Dec. 16 motion. “This Court … has ordered the Defendant to meet certain financial obligations to his wife and children, which Defendant cannot hope to even attempt to meet without release and restoration to his occupation.”
Mann and his wife have two minor children, according to court documents.
Cauthen also argued that Mann would lose visitation rights to his children if he attempted to flee, that he “has substantial and significant contact and ties to the community,” that he has never before been charged with “any crime of violence or any crime involving moral turpitude,” and that there has been no allegation that he tampered with his ankle monitor while briefly out on bond.
“He is presumed innocent of these charges until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The only reason for holding the Defendant is the very speculative notion that he will run,” Cauthen wrote. “That notion is without any basis in fact.”
Elliott has not ruled on the Dec. 16 motion. The next scheduled court appearance in the case is Jan. 9, when Mann is to be arraigned.
In an affidavit filed with the Nov. 10 motion seeking to obtain his release, Mann’s father also pushed for his son’s release.
“It is my belief that Brian is not a flight risk. He has quite a bit of his life and resources invested in Morgan County, Alabama, and it is my belief that it is his intention to stay in Morgan County, Alabama, throughout the duration of these proceedings,” Brian Mann’s father wrote.
According to the affidavit by Thomas Hamby Mann, also a Hartselle resident, Brian Mann owns a chiropractic office at 2112 Sixth Ave. S.E. in Decatur and a house on Coleman Street Northwest in Hartselle. The Coleman Street house and the 2 acres upon which it sits are valued for tax purposes at $477,900, according to Morgan County property tax records.
In Brian Mann’s report to the State Department that his passport was missing, he listed the Coleman Street house as the place where the loss occurred and said he had “misplaced it.” Mann’s previous lawyer told the court that Mann “actually believes (the passport) was stolen, but that is a separate issue,” an apparent reference to Mann’s estranged wife who allegedly had access to the lockbox where the passport was kept.
Thomas Mann said his son was born in Seoul, South Korea, while Thomas Mann served in the U.S. Air Force as a translator. Brian Mann was born a U.S. citizen and does not have dual citizenship, according to his father.
Thomas Mann also said he had tried to find his son’s passport.
“My wife and I have exhaustively searched the house, the contents of the house, Brian’s truck and office in an effort to locate Brian’s passport,” according to the affidavit, which said the search “proved fruitless.”