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MailTribune.com
  • Suspect in pig-farm slayings denied bail

    Accused killer reportedly shot victims in the head
  • Prosecutors say accused serial killer Susan Monica shot her two victims in the head before dismembering their bodies and made incriminating statements to investigators about the crimes at her rural Rogue River pig farm.
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  • Prosecutors say accused serial killer Susan Monica shot her two victims in the head before dismembering their bodies and made incriminating statements to investigators about the crimes at her rural Rogue River pig farm.
    Jackson County Senior Deputy District Attorney Allan Smith said in court Wednesday that Monica's taped statements about the slayings were supported by mounds of forensic evidence collected on her 20-acre farm at 9194 W. Evans Creek Road.
    He did not elaborate during a brief hearing Wednesday morning in Jackson County Circuit Court, where the 65-year-old Monica asked for bail while awaiting trial on two counts each of murder and abuse of a corpse and one count of identity theft.
    Circuit Judge Tim Barnack denied the request and sent Monica back to jail, where she has been held since her Jan. 10 arrest.
    The hearing marked the first time prosecutors or investigators have said how they believe Monica — a hefty welder by trade who acquaintances said carried a handgun and fed dead animals to her pigs — allegedly killed and dismembered her two victims in 2012 and 2013.
    No discussion of pigs surfaced in Wednesday's hearing and investigators have refused to comment on whether the pigs played any role in the alleged crimes.
    Defense attorney Christine Herbert acknowledged in court that the evidence suggests the two victims were killed, but not necessarily murdered. She did not elaborate or discuss Monica's alleged statements to police.
    Under Oregon law, a murder charge requires proof of intent to kill at the time of the act. Other versions of homicide crimes do not require that level of intent and instead rely on standards such as causing someone's death out of recklessness or acting with indifference to the value of human life.
    Monica is accused of murdering Robert Haney, a 56-year-old handyman and tenant, on her rural Rogue River farm in September 2013 and a still-unidentified other victim in August 2012.
    Jackson County District Attorney Beth Heckert said investigators have found a family member of the unidentified victim and are awaiting DNA tests for positive identification.
    Monica appeared in person, not by video, at Wednesday's hearing. Her only other previous court appearance was her Jan. 21 arraignment and that was via video from the jail.
    She blurted, "Oh God" and rubbed her brow with her left hand Tuesday when Barnack set a pretrial hearing for September.
    Monica previously sent three letters to the Mail Tribune expressing her unhappiness in jail, where she said she is isolated in a cold cell and given largely inedible food.
    Just hours after the Mail Tribune printed online copies of Monica's letters, Herbert filed a motion seeking to ban media access to Monica.
    Barnack, who had not reviewed the motion prior to the hearing, said he would take it under advisement.
    Wearing a flowing brown wig and orange fingernails that match her jail-issued clothing, Monica sat in court speaking inaudibly with Herbert after Barnack adjourned the short hearing. Barnack then ordered Monica to leave so he could conduct another hearing.
    Monica pointed at Herbert and said, "I need to see you right away" before bailiffs led her out of the courtroom.
    Bale hearings in murder cases are rare in Oregon, where state law declares that murder suspects "shall" be held without bail.
    At Monica's behest, Herbert told Barnack that Monica was willing to offer the farm she has owned since 1991 as security for her release and promised to attend all hearings. Barnack immediately denied the request.
    Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or email at mfreeman@mailtribune.com.
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