New details were released during a near 2-hour Preliminary Hearing Wednesday morning for homicide suspect Tyler Monroe of Merrill. As a result of the hearing, Branch 1 judge Honorable Jay Tlusty found probable cause to bound Monroe over for trial. Monroe is suspected of stabbing his father to death in early January of 2016. Monroe had been previously held on $10,000 cash bond, related to Felon in Possession of a Firearm charges filed in February. Last week however, additional Felony charges of 1st Degree Intentional Homicide, Hiding a Corpse, Taking a Vehicle Without Consent and Felony Bail Jumping charges were added, upon Monroe being officially charged in connection with his father’s death. First Degree Homicide carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Tyler’s father, 55-year old Kevin Monroe, was found dead in his Wisconsin Street apartment on the afternoon of January 12, 2016.
An autopsy performed January 13 at the University of Wisconsin Hospitals in Madison, ruled Kevin Monroe’s cause of death to be the result of “sharp force homicide” caused by 26 stab wounds, including four fatal wounds to the liver, three fatal wounds to the right lung and multiple other wounds to the face, neck, torso, shoulder, thigh and shin.
According to a criminal complaint filed by the Merrill Police Department, with the office of Lincoln County District Attorney Galen Bayne-Allison, Kevin Monroe’s body was discovered by a friend on the floor of his bedroom in an apartment he shared with Tyler.
The reporting party who found Monroe’s body, indicated he and other family members had become suspicious of Tyler Monroe’s responses to inquiries regarding his father’s absence and whereabouts. The reporting party indicated difficulty in opening Monroe’s bedroom door and Tyler Monroe becoming agitated when the reporting party attempted to enter, reportedly advising the reporting party “My dad will be real mad if you go in there,”
Tyler Monroe had reportedly continued to reside at the apartment during the period of his father’s sudden absence, from early January until the day his father was discovered. At one point, the reporting party “shouldered” the door to gain entry, causing it to fall open and leading to the discovery of Kevin Monroe’s body on the floor, covered with a sheet. The reporting party indicated to investigators that the door appeared to have been glued shut. However during testimony Wednesday morning, Merrill Police Department Lieutenant Detective Pat Wunsch indicated the door had indeed been locked. Inside the bedroom, a window had been left open and an oscillating fan placed near Monroe’s body. The temperature in the bedroom was reportedly below zero.
During further testimony by Wunsch on Wednesday, he indicated the homicide investigation revealed the stabbing had occurred in the kitchen of the apartment. Investigators came to the conclusion after a Luminol test. As Wunch described, Luminol is a chemical which binds itself to amino acids contained in blood, and upon dimming the lighting to an area where Luminol has been sprayed; an area containing blood residue will appear as a fluorescent blue color, even after being cleaned or wiped away. Wunsch indicated the test revealed more blood spatter in the kitchen than any other area in the residence. Kevin Monroe’s body was then moved through the living room of the residence using two area rugs, to the floor of his bedroom where he was eventually found. Family and friends of Monroe reported the rugs had normally been used in the kitchen .
The individual who found Kevin Monroe’s body indicated having last seen Kevin on January 3, 2016, after arriving at Monroe’s residence to have dinner with him. Wunsch indicated Kevin Monroe’s debit card had been actively used through the morning of January 4, but activity abruptly stopped as of the afternoon of January 4. A work associate of Kevin Monroe’s indicated Monroe was due to be back at work on January 4 but did not show up. When he sent Monroe a text message later that night to ask Kevin if he planned on coming in to work, the response of “No, I’m not coming into work. Leave me alone and do not contact me any more,” reportedly was given via text message, from Monroe’s phone. A neighbor of the Monroe’s reported overhearing what appeared to be a physical altercation on January 4, followed by frequent entry and exiting of the residence by Tyler. In the days following, a very strong odor of cleaning chemicals was near intolerable according to the neighbor. Wunsch also indicated a murder weapon has never been found.
At 5 p.m. on the evening of Jan. 12, a motorist traveling northbound on STH 107 reported observing Kevin Monroe’s car veer off STH 107 near Tug Lake Road and go into the ditch. Tyler Monroe was reportedly observed exiting the vehicle and removing a pair of blue latex gloves which he was wearing. At 5:06 p.m. a Lincoln County Sheriff’s deputy investigated the area where the car was located and discovered a duffel bag. Deputies and officers from the Merrill Police Department followed Tyler Monroe’s snow footprints until 10:30 p.m., when the search proved unsuccessful. At 11:04 p.m., officers of the Merrill Police Department responded to a report of a suspicious male walking in the area of the search. When officers arrived, a Lincoln County Sheriff’s deputy had Monroe at gun-point. Monroe was subsequently taken into custody.
According to the criminal complaint, a search warrant was obtained to search the duffel bag and the interior of Kevin Monroe’s vehicle. A subsequent search yielded various makes and designs of firearms and ammunition; including a loaded .45 handgun. Other items discovered included blue latex gloves, red-stained black electrical tape, an insulated sleeping bag, camouflage and thermal clothing, several changes of clothes, personal care/hygiene items and credit cards belonging to Kevin Monroe. During a search of the Monroes’ apartment, a note was discovered reading: “Gone Business Trip Over Month.” Upon analysis by the Department of Criminal Investigation, Tyler Monroe was found to have written the note.
During a bond hearing following Wednesday’s preliminary hearing, the prosecutorial team of state Assistant Attorney General Sherry Rusch and Bayne-Allison requested $1 million cash bond to be ordered for Monroe, by the court. In arguing the matter, Rusch cited Monroe’s likelihood to flee the area if released, as evidenced by his attempted flight following discovery of his father’s body. Additional reasoning by Rusch indcluded the items he was found in possession of such as the clothing and firearms, as well as investigators finding Monroe had researched Canadian vs United States monetary exchange rates on a computer at the Monroe residence, just minutes prior to fleeing. “He was on his way out of the area, Rusch stated. “Investigators had reason to believe he may have been bound for Canada.”
Rusch also cited Monroe’s criminal history, including drug possession and 3rd Degree Sexual Assault, as well as his past behavior of attempting to abscond from probation.
One of Monroe’s defense attorney’s Alec Nocco, argued the state’s request for $1 million was “all for show”.
“My client can’t afford the $10,000 bond he is on currently. He does not work, he was not employed when he was arrested and has no money. My client couldn’t afford a $1,000 bond. Asking for a million dollar bond is for only for show,”
Ultimately, Tlusty ruled in favor of the state and ordered Monroe held on $1 million cash bond.
Monroe will return to court in October for a scheduling conference.