Accused killer's defense team remains on case
Accused serial killer Susan Monica claims her attorneys are not properly investigating her defense in the slayings of two former handymen whose bodies were found on her Wimer pig farm, saying the attorneys appear more interested in her mental health than her murder case.
Appearing Friday in Jackson County Circuit Court, Monica attempted to fire her attorneys for what she said was their disinterest in tracking down the whereabouts last fall of one of the victims — 56-year-old Robert Harry Haney.
Haney's body and that of 59-year-old handyman Stephen Frank Delicino were found in January at Monica's 20-acre pig farm at 9184 W. Evans Creek Road. Both were shot in the head and dismembered in what prosecutors claim were separate murders committed more than a year apart.
Monica said in court Friday that Haney left her property alive and that she wanted her defense attorney, Christine Herbert, to seek Haney's cellphone records to track his whereabouts before his death.
"They haven't tracked down where Robert Haney was a month and a half before I found him in my ..." Monica said, then stopped herself.
"The longer they wait the more evidence is going to be lost," she added.
Wearing green Jackson County Jail clothes and her trademark brown wig over her bald head, the 65-year-old welder told Jackson County Circuit Judge Timothy Barnack that Herbert so far has tracked down a long-lost brother back East, but that "I don't see the relevance" in it.
Monica also complained that Herbert wanted her to sign a waiver to look at any mental-health records that might exist on her.
"She seems to be more interested in my mental health than the case," Monica said.
Barnack declined to fire Herbert and co-defense attorney Zachary Light. The judge also wouldn't let Monica represent herself on two murder and felony abuse-of-corpse charges as she requested.
"I want you to work with them, work with the investigator," Barnack told Monica. "I'll give you an opportunity to represent yourself down the line, but not now. It would be a mistake not to let them work the case right now."
Barnack told Monica her attorneys were highly qualified and "can't go on some wild goose chase chasing things that don't exist" while attempting to prepare her defense.
Barnack told Monica that "you're normal, to me" and reminded her that she is innocent until proven guilty.
"I realize I am guilty of a couple things, but I'm not guilty of murder," Monica said.
The often rambling, 17-minute hearing was prompted by a letter Monica wrote to Barnack that he said contained information about the case. He did not elaborate in court Friday.
Monica, who was not shackled during the hearing, was returned to the Jackson County Jail, where she has remained held without bail since her Jan. 10 arrest.
The indictment asserts that Monica first murdered and dismembered Delicino, of Wimer, in summer 2012 and then Haney in September 2013.
Prosecutors earlier in court said Monica shot her two victims in their heads, made incriminating statements to investigators about the crimes and that investigators have amassed mounds of evidence supporting her statements.
FBI criteria for a serial killer is one who kills at least two people in separate acts that are not part of a running crime spree.
Haney was reported missing by family members and it was Monica's alleged use of Haney's Oregon Trail card that Jackson County sheriff's detectives said led to searching her farm in January and finding evidence of the two slayings.
Delicino, who lived on the 7000 block of Pleasant Creek Road, was never reported missing.
Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or email at email@example.com.