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Mannings, Deputies Appear For Arraignment

Escambia County Jail

Two Escambia County deputies and two others arrested in an investigation into sexual assault had their first day in court on Thursday.

Deputies Mark Smith and Walter Thomas were arraigned before Judge Michael Jones on charges of sexual assault on a victim older than 12. Smith was also charged with misdemeanor battery. Trial is scheduled for June 29. Bond for Thomas is set at $60,000, and $66,000 for Smith.

The two deputies have retained private counsel.

Douglas and Leah Manning, who were arrested two weeks ago in Colorado, also appeared before Judge Jones. The State Attorney's Office has dropped the initial charges of child neglect against Leah Manning, and adding additional charges of sexual battery against a minor older than 12, and promoting sexual performance by a child. Her trial date is also June 29.

Citing a conflict of interest due to representing Leah Manning, the public defender’s office has filed to withdraw from representing her husband. Douglas Manning’s arraignment was moved to April 9, where he’ll be represented by the regional public defender.