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Christopher Emmanuel "Manny" Balestrero
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Birth: Sep. 29, 1909
New York, USA
Death: Feb. 27, 1998
Stanley
Gaston County
North Carolina, USA

Manny Balestrero worked as a musician in the Stork Club, a nightclub in New York City. Manny and Rose, his wife,had very little money. When Rose needs some dental work, Manny attempted to borrow on her insurance policy at the insurance office. Unfortunately, he bore a resemblance to an armed robber who had held up the office twice before, so the police are called. Manny was identified by several witnesses and, when providing a handwriting sample, he nervously misspells a word that was also misspelled on the robbery note. He was arrested and charged with the crime.

His defense attorney, Frank O'Connor, builds a case based on mistaken identity. At the time of the first hold-up Manny was away on vacation with his family. At the time of the second hold-up, Manny had a swollen jaw - a fact which the insurance-office employee would have noticed if Manny had been the robber. Manny and Rose look for the three people who could have testified that he was present at the vacation hotel on the day of the hold-up, but two had died in the intervening months and the third could not be found. The stress of all this has a devastating effect on Rose who slowly descends into depression to the point where she is institutionalized.

During the trial a juror, bored with the minutia of one witness's testimony, makes a remark which prompts the judge to grant a mistrial. While Manny is awaiting re-trial the real robber is arrested in the act of robbing a grocery store and Manny is exonerated. He visits Rose at the sanatorium to tell her the good news but she remains in an apathetic state. Two years later Rose fully recovered and the family moved to Florida.



Part of the real story - Fred

My life did not start over again when I was cleared,” said Balestrero, who moved his family to Florida after his wife’s release. “I figured if we’re going to really get a fresh start, everything’s got to be different. We left our friends, our relatives, our home, our furniture — everything.”

Manny sued the city and insurance company for $500,000 for false arrest and settled out of court for $7,000. He sold the film rights to his story for $22,000 but told The Post that not much was left after repaying loans for the cost of Rose’s institutionalization. Manny, who went back to work as a musician and loved the Hitchcock movie, died in a nursing home in 1998. But Rose, who died 14 years earlier, never fully recovered (contrary to a written coda at the end of “The Wrong Man”).

The intersection of 73rd Street and 41st Avenue — near the old family home in Jackson Heights — was renamed “Manny ‘The Wrong Man’ Balestrero Way.’’

Lou Lumenick - NY Post 
 
Burial:
Cremated, Location of ashes is unknown.
 
Created by: J. Karl
Record added: Apr 28, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 69073176
Christopher Emmanuel Manny Balestrero
Added by: Fred
 
Christopher Emmanuel Manny Balestrero
Added by: J. Karl
 
Christopher Emmanuel Manny Balestrero
Added by: J. Karl
 
 
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So many need to appreciate your strength and your families courage throughout this ordeal. It can happen at any time to anybody. Your story and life inspires courage. Thank you for your endurance. Your music plays on in the hearts of many. THANK YOU!!
- SEEKER
 Added: Feb. 10, 2017
Manny..I am sorry you were wrongfully accused..I just watched the Hitchcock movie "The Wrong Man". To bad the NYC Police did not pay you more money.
- Edie Koller
 Added: Jan. 2, 2017
Will watch your story today. It should awaken people to the possibility of something like this happening. It could happen to anyone.Rest in peace.
- pat duigon
 Added: Dec. 3, 2016
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