Woman pleads not guilty to murder charges
Accused double-murderer Susan Monica ended her brief court appearance Tuesday in Medford by asking her rural Rogue River community to butcher her pigs and give the meat to charity.
The 65-year-old woman made her request after pleading not guilty to two counts of murder and first-degree abuse of a corpse for the alleged slayings of two people whose remains were found Jan. 10 at her West Evans Creek Road farm.
"I'd like the people of Rogue River to donate a small amount of money so I can have my pigs butchered and the meat given to the Rogue River Community Center," Monica said over the admonishments of her attorney not to speak.
Monica appeared in Jackson County Circuit Court via video conference, sporting a brown, shoulder-length wig and wearing orange Jackson County Jail clothing. In her jail mug following her Jan. 10 arrest, Monica was bald.
Circuit Judge Lorenzo Mejia ordered Monica held without bail and set a March 17 hearing.
She is accused of murdering Robert Haney, a 56-year-old handyman and tenant, on the property in early September and another unidentified victim in early August 2012. She also faces an identity theft charge after allegedly using Haney's Oregon Trail card without him being present, and investigators' search of Monica's farm on that case led to the discovery of human body parts, police said.
Though the charges state she dismembered the bodies, investigators have remained mum on how they believe Monica disposed of the bodies, what body parts were discovered and where they were found. Fingerprints matching the FBI's National Fingerprint Database identified Haney as one of the victims.
Local resident Bonnie Wheeler told the Mail Tribune that she occasionally did odd jobs for Monica last year and that Monica threatened her when they had a falling out.
"She used to talk to my friend about killing me and feeding me to the pigs," Wheeler said. "It could have been me."
Former tenant Patiphon Pana has said Monica not only fed dead sheep to her pigs, but she also shot and killed two of his dogs and one of his cats and fed them to the swine near the end of his three years renting a room from Monica on her 20-acre farm at 9184 West Evans Creek Road.
The rural Rogue River and Wimer communities have been abuzz with rumors over what else investigators may turn up as Jackson County sheriff's detectives continue to visit the farm.
"Wimer does not need the reputation of having a serial killer," Evans Valley Fire Chief Bill Fuller said Tuesday. "We don't need any more bodies."
Rumors about the pigs have run rampant, with residents who bought pork in recent years questioning whether Monica could have supplied the pigs, Fuller said.
"There are people who bought weaner
(spelling corrected) pigs who feel uncomfortable about that decision," Fuller said.
Wheeler said Monica, whose jail records list her as 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighing 260 pounds, was a "hoarder" who lived in squalor on her farm, carried a pistol, never bathed and wore the same sweatshirt for a year.
"A lot of people thought she was a man because she was so big and she never washed her clothes," Wheeler said.
Fuller said Monica was an excellent welder by trade who fashioned hand rails and repaired an underground water tank at the fire district office in the time since she bought the farm and moved to the area in 1991.
"We knew her well," he said.
Rogue River Community Center Director Sue Smith said Monica was a monthly visitor to the center, picking up food for her and her pigs but showing up less often during the past year.
Smith said the center cannot accept any meat donation unless it is processed and certified under U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines.
Smith said she questions whether the center would accept a donation of Monica's pigs even if the meat were properly processed.
"I don't know," Smith said. "That's kind of a loaded question."
During Tuesday's court appearance, Monica sat in front of the camera constantly blinking, exhibiting facial ticks and seemingly mouthing syllables or words before she requested to speak.
Reach Mail Tribune reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or by email at email@example.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/MTwriterFreeman.