Former East Manchester Township manager pleads guilty to kidnapping charge

Anthony Maenza
York Dispatch

The former manager of East Manchester Township pleaded guilty Monday to a kidnapping charge related to a 2020 incident in which he held his ex-girlfriend captive.

Judge Amber A. Kraft sentenced Gene David Gentzler, 64, to three to six years in prison on the charge of kidnapping to inflict injury or terrorize. Gentzler was also sentenced to two years of probation, which will be served following the end of the jail sentence. 

“The case was scheduled for trial to start Monday and the parties reached an agreement to settle it Friday afternoon,” said Gentzler’s attorney, Korey Leslie.

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A laundry list of other charges against Gentzler — which included aggravated assault, simple assault, harassment, false imprisonment, unlawful restraint and making terroristic threats — were dismissed as part of the plea deal, Leslie said. 

Gene David Gentzler, who goes by Dave Gentzler, is manager of East Manchester Twp.

In entering the guilty plea, Gentzler was able to control the outcome of his fate, his attorney said. 

“That was a large factor (in doing it),” Leslie said. “He knew the amount of time he was agreeing to and that would not be left to a judge if he were found guilty at trial. And he could have received conceivably double that had he gone to trial and been found guilty.”

The charges in this case led to Gentzler's departure as township manager.

Gentzler was arrested back in May of 2020 after allegedly holding his ex-girlfriend captive and threatening to kill her in an hours-long ordeal, police said at the time. 

State police said Gentzler was at the woman's home in Red Lion when she told him she no longer had feelings for him. Their break-up had begun in March, police said, and Gentzler was at her house to talk about it. 

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Gentzler got angry and confronted the woman in her kitchen, where he pushed her against the wall, tied her hands with zip ties and threatened her with a handgun to force her upstairs to the bedroom, charging documents state. 

Police said he then allegedly tied her ankles to the bedposts, put a rope around her neck and taped her mouth shut before pointing the gun at her stomach and telling her he planned to kill her and then kill himself. 

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At one point, police said, Gentzler brought in a hammer from another room and told the woman he was going to knock out her teeth. 

Police said the woman was able to talk to Gentzler and he eventually untied her from the bedposts. When she thought he was asleep, she escaped and called 911, police said. 

— Reach Anthony Maenza at amaenza@yorkdispatch.com or @atmaenza on Twitter.