To the AZ State Parole Board,
My name is Kathy Monkman Higham, and I am the sister of the victim in this case, Cindy Monkman. She was my only sister, 14 months older than me and her life was taken on December 23, 1988, by Rudi Apelt and his brother Michael, in the Arizona desert for one motive: money. Specifically, $400,000 in life insurance taken out on her in the weeks before her murder. Her body was discovered on Christmas Eve day. She was killed the day after the insurance papers arrived in the mail.
I’d like to offer my opinions on this murderer Rudi Apelt, and perhaps give you some information about him, as you evaluate the options related to parole for this convicted murderer.
In 2009, Rudi Apelt was deemed “mentally retarded” by one finder of fact: Judge Silvia Arellano after a lengthy death penalty appeal. He was removed from Death Row at that time, vacating the death sentence and replacing it with a grandfathered in Life WITH Parole sentence which she ordered to be run consecutively with his other Life WITH parole sentence for the conspiracy to commit murder conviction. Life WITHOUT parole was not an option in Arizona when this killer was sentenced in 1990, which is why he is even being considered for parole now.
Judge Arellano, in making her decision, deemed that no information related to Apelt beyond the age of 18 would be considered by her in the final outcome of that appeal. This means that the crimes for which he was convicted–first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder–were not considered in the determination of sentences for said crimes. Both brothers were in their late 20s at the time they slaughtered my sister in a sophisticated scheme for $400,000 in life insurance proceeds. They had been plotting this murder for about two months at least.
For purposes of this hearing, I will focus on this murderer, Rudi and the life he lived past the age of 18, and up to, and including the murder of my sister Cindy.
I have seen police reports on Rudi Apelt from Germany, which include burglary, assault, insurance fraud, and rape. Rudi served 5 years in a German prison for a violent gang rape of a woman before coming to the United States and murdering my sister. Not only did he and his cohorts rape and brutalize their victim, but they left her outside the city limits for dead, much like my sister, although he made sure Cindy was actually dead before leaving her in the desert that December night. Rudi stole the car they drove to the airport in to come to the US, and warrants were out for their arrest in Germany shortly after they left in the summer of 1988.
It was proven in court by Rudi’s own expert, famous pathologist Vincent DiMaio, that it was, in fact, Rudi himself who inflicted the majority of the stab wounds to my sister’s chest, severing her aorta, piercing her lung and then nearly decapitating her by slashing her throat. She was also severely beaten, but it was not proven who committed those blows. The knife wounds were easily established because Rudi is right handed, and his brother Michael is left-handed, and the majority of her wounds were clearly committed by a right handed individual, according to his own expert. Michael’s footprint was found on her forehead and it was presented in court that he stood on her head, as Rudi slashed Cindy’s throat as she lay helpless on the desert floor. Rudi and his brother went to the nightclub/restaurant, Bobby McGees and used Cindy’s credit card for a celebratory dinner after they killed her.
I met Rudi the very night that Cindy met the men who would kill her in a few short months. We were at a night club, and Rudi was supposed to be the date of one of our friends who had met this pair of brothers there the night before. But what I witnessed was Rudi blowing kisses and winking at me, which was highly inappropriate and distasteful. He was also meandering around the bar hitting on other women and kissing them on the dance floor. Although this behavior was rude, it does not rise to a level to prove mental retardation, in my opinion. That’s just common sense. He obviously possessed the savvy and bravado, as well as the confidence to be able to pursue multiple women at once. I do not find this behavior evident in mentally retarded people. You might ask yourselves the same question.
In the weeks leading up to murdering my sister, Rudi spent his time, with his brother, lining up other women to date, asking them to marry him, pursuing them and borrowing their cars, staying in their homes alone without his brother, lying to them, while stealing money from their purses and blank checks from their homes. He was able to convince luxury car dealers, Rolex watch distributors, and a custom home realtor that he was anything from a professional athlete (he is tall and at the time quite stocky), to an international banker to a pilot. Along with his brother, these schemes were believed, as they test drove Jaguars, BMW’s and signed a contract on a custom home, presumably pre-spending the life insurance money before they murdered my sister, as they had no other source of income other than illegal activities and schemes. All of these people came forward to testify about their experiences with these German con artists and how they believed their lies, including consistent claims of wealth.
Rudi, along with his brother, attended Cindy’s funeral and got up and spoke. I witnessed both of them driving away from the grave site laughing in their rental car. Their accomplice, Anke Dorn, testified that that very night they confessed to her that they had murdered Cindy.
Now with all of this information (which I have well documented in police reports and court records, if you would like me to provide supporting documentation), I encourage you to ask yourselves if you would assess this violent man as mentally retarded and give him any leniency for this or any other reason. If for some reason, you give him the benefit of the doubt that Judge Arellano did, then I implore you to realize, clearly, that he is a danger to any society and should never be released from prison.
Rudi Apelt is a sophisticated con artist and violent man, of this there is no doubt, whatever label one wants to put on him.
Please make sure he remains in prison for the rest of his life, however long that will be.
Thank you for your consideration.
Kathy Monkman Higham