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The Murder of Clarence Ralph Mansker


On the night of May 11, 1959, Clarence Ralph Mansker and a friend, Charles Swiney, were drinking beer in the Log Cabin bar, on 1st Street in San Diego, California. Also in the bar were Bayani Fernando Tobias, a sailor on the US Navy submarine tender Nereus, and his live-in girlfriend, Aileen Kahumoku.

At some point in the evening, a fight broke out between Tobias and Kahumoku. Mansker (and Swiney apparently) intervened to break up the fight. Tobias was ordered to leave the bar.

About 20 minutes later he returned and called Mansker and Swiney to the door. When they stepped outside, Tobias shook hands with them and apologized. Then, when the two of them turned to go back into the bar, Tobias opened fire with a .45 caliber "German-made automatic pistol" (presumably a Luger).

Clarence Ralph Mansker was shot three times in the back and fell to the sidewalk dead

Swiney was hit in the shoulder, but he was able to turn and grapple with Tobias. Another shot was fired in the scuffle, but it went wild and no one was injured. Swiney disarmed Tobias and beat him on the head with the pistol. He was able to detain him until police arrived.

On 30 June 1959, the murder trial of Bayani Tobias began with jury selection. After the six-man, six-woman jury was impaneled, Swiney was the first witness to be called. He described for the jury the events of the night of May 11 in some considerate detail. He also testified that neither he nor Mansker had ever seen the defendant before the night of the murder.

The jury swiftly found Tobias guilty of second degree murder in the slaying of Clarence Ralph Mansker, and guilty of assault with a deadly weapon in the case of Swiney.

Judge Edgar B. Hervey sentenced Tobias to imprisonment for five years to life on each charge, with the terms to run concurrently. The judge stated that he had given Tobias a "break" because Tobias, a citizen of the Philippines, was "not familiar with American customs" (!).

However, Hervey also stated that Tobias and his girlfriend "lived together illegally", and that he suspected that Tobias had stolen the pistol from a shipmate (although there was no evidence for this presented at the trial). He also said that he believed Kahumoku had perjured herself at the trial.

In addition, the judge stated, rather flippantly, that Tobias lost the first round at the bar, and then "he got a .45 and came back for the second round, which he won by a knockout... But he has lost this round."

Clarence Ralph Mansker was 36 at the time of his death. He was a bakery truck driver and he lived at the Reiss Hotel, 1332 1st Avenue, San Diego. The bar was located at 1246 1st Avenue, near Mansker's hotel.

Charles Darrell Swiney was 25, listed in the news stories as a driver's helper, and also a truck driver; he lived at 1905 Moore St., San Diego. Tobias was also 25 and lived with Aileen Kahumoku, 28, at 1556 Union Street, a few blocks away from the Log Cabin.

So who was Clarence Ralph Mansker?

Clarence Ralph Mansker was the eighth and last child of Edward Mansker and Hattie Island Pearson (see photograph; see the Descendants page). He was born 2 October 1922 in Thebes, Illinois. He was married to Wilma Jean Mansker, daughter of Wilmer Cole Mansker and granddaughter of Nelson Crain Mansker. In late 1945 he accidentally beat his daughter, Patricia Jean Mansker, to death:

Held as Suspect in Death of His Daughter

St Louis, Dec 25. -- INS -- A 24-year-old man was held by St. Louis police today after being booked "suspected of homicide" in connection with the death of his four-months-old daughter.
Police said that Clarence R. Mansker admitted that he had slapped little Patricia Jean when he had lost his temper after being awaked by the baby's crying early yesterday.
An investigation was begun after police said an autopsy showed the baby apparently died of a hemorrhage of the brain and contusion of the right cheek.
Police quoted Mansker as saying that he called his wife, Wilma Jean, when he noticed the baby strangling after she was struck. The baby was rushed by ambulance to City hospital where she died shortly afterward.
Source: Rockford Register,Wed Dec 25, 1945, page 1

Admits Slapping Infant to Death

St. Louis, Mo., Dec 24 -- (UP) -- Clarence R. Mansker, 24-year-old bus driver, admitted orally to police today that he lost his temper and slapped his four-month-old daughter to death.
Police began an investigation into the death of Patricia Jean Mansker after coroner's autopsy revealed that the baby's death was caused by a blow or fall.
Source: Rockford Morning Star, Wed Dec 25, 1945, page 1
The outcome of this case is unknown, but sometime between 1945 and 1958 he remarried and moved to the San Diego area. On Feb 23, 1958, his second wife, Wanda Joann Eggleston, was acidentally electrocuted:
Housewife, 27, is Electrocuted

A San Diego woman was electrocuted at Poway yesterday when a guy wire of a television antenna she was helping to erect came in contact with a 12,000 volt power line.
The victim was Mrs. Wanda Mansker, 27, of 1905 Moore St. She was assisting relatives in putting up the antenna at the home of Mr. and Mrs. James Long.
Long, 32, suffered burns on his hands. The power line was broken and burned through feeder lines to the Long residence. Portions of a clothesline and the antenna were seared.
Mrs. Mansker was standing on the ground and backed up to take up the slack in one of the guy wires. Witnesses said the tightened wire touched the overhead power line.
WRAPPED ON PIPE
A San Diego Gas & Electric Co. emergency crewman said two other persons also would have been killed if another guy wire for the 40-foot antenna had not been wrapped around a pipe in the ground.
These were Long and Doris Strickland of 2318 State St., who had wound her end of the guy wire on the pipe.An estimated three-quarters of the current was grounded through the pipe. The remainder passed through Mrs. Mansker.
Mrs. Mansker died on the seventh birthday of her son, Richard. She was pronounced dead at Palomar Memorial Hospital in Escondido at 12:30 p.m.
WORKING ON ROOF
Jesse C. Canale, chief deputy coroner, said Mrs. Mansker accompanied her husband, Clarence, 29, and the Albert Stricklands to the Long residence to erect a free-standing antenna. The Manskers and Stricklands are relatives.
At the time of the accident, the antenna was upright on a ground stand and guy wires had been attached by Mansker and Strickland, who were working on the roof of the house.
Mrs. Mansker, Long and Mrs. Strickland were holding the guy wires on the ground.
One half of the power line fell in a field near the house. An automatic relay at a power substation serving the area cut off the flow of electricity.
Source: San Diego Union Feb 24, 1958


Special thanks to Linda Smith, for providing the text of the
clippings from Southern California newspapers that formed the basis for this story.