Back again. I want to get this finished, as it’s a Lillian weekend and I need to dump this out of my brain before she gets here. I just got home from the most wonderful day of helping my friend set up some wedding flowers at a rural winery, the most gorgeous country drive on a gorgeous day-sometimes life could not get any better.
So, back to the issue at hand. The parole hearing I participated in a couple of days ago on Cindy’s birthday.
Due to the magic of technology, there were several streams going–the in person Parole Board (3 members in attendance), my victim advocate and two social work interns with her, also in person, his interpreter in the room, then on the Google Meets virtual meeting was me, my victim’s rights attorney, Cathy Hughes (our prosecutor from the original trials), the ADA from Pinal County, another attorney who I could not see on video (I think from the AG’s office) and a couple other squares with phone numbers calling in. One was the interpreter.
Oh and of course the Board was visible there in a square as well.
I was set up with my printed out statement (that my advocate had a copy of in the room in case we ran in to tech problems), a photo of Cindy and I, a clipboard with blank paper thanks to my husband who is always prepared, my phone set to voice memo (I recorded much of it) and the recipe for chicken cacciatore that I was going to make after it was over, sort of on accident as it came off the printer at the same time as the statement. But I sure was glad to have it, to soothe myself with as this went on–dreaming about my country drive to the poultry farm and my garden plot after to get my ingredients, then coming home to cook it for Cindy’s birthday.
Cathy Hughes was in a time crunch, so it was decided she would speak first. I was so looking forward to it as she is truly a brilliant orator. She began talking about her lengthy career as a prosecutor trying mostly murder cases, and later serving on a Board that oversaw all the murder cases in at least the county if not the State–meaning she was familiar with almost every single murder case in AZ for decades. “This case stands out in the top 5 for it’s brutality, greed and evil” (i think she said those words, paraphrasing as I was spellbound as usual by her). They kept making her stop every few lines, which was entirely frustrating, to interpret for him. By the way, he was not on the screen, but present via audio.
When it became clear that this was going to be lengthy and frustrating, the Board member running the meeting (female and I’m sorry I don’t recall her name right now–I just found it! Kathryn Blades–she is the Executive Director of the Board) asked Cathy to truncate her statement to the most salient points and stop speaking every few lines for the interpreter. So Cathy basically cut to the chase and gave her opinion that Rudi Apelt should never be paroled based on the severity of the crime. Again, I was super bummed out that she didn’t get to give her full statement–once again, the killer’s absurd “needs” trumping everything else. Of course after over 30 years incarcerated in the US, he speaks and understands English but still trying to find ways to take control and game the system.
Next up, they went to Rudi himself and asked him the opening question which was to tell the Board in his own words the crime he has committed.
I’m just going to go off my notes now which are semi-legible (I type so much I can hardly write anymore..ugh!). Taking notes gives me a focus and helps me cope with listening to this awful material. I’m basically just going to copy them here in case it seems less than fluid.
First he thanks the Board. Indicates he is sorry for what he has been involved in. If he could take it back, he would not have committed this crime.
(that astounded me as there has never in 32 years been an admission from either of them, much less an apology–but of course he’s trying for parole)
He cannot take back the pain of the family–if he could he’d be able to take the pain away.
“Answer the question,” the Board member repeats. “Describe the crime that was committed.”
Here there was a lot of German exchange between he and the interpreter which was also annoying, because obviously none of us understood it. The interpreter was not there for counsel or support but simply to translate his words.
He said he has not had a chance to see a paper. The Board wants to hear the crime in his own words.
“I stood by and listened to what the other two planned to go through with this murder”.
Regarding the insurance, he said he did not benefit therefore he was not part of the planning. (I noted that he knows this sentence is for the conspiracy charge, so he keeps focusing on the planning aspect–pretty good for someone who’s “mentally retarded” huh?)
Did not realize what the insurance meant–it didn’t describe the type of death (huh?).
“What role did you play in the killing of the victim?”
He was not aware what he was planning to do–would have called the police.
“To me it sounds like you are suggesting you did nothing wrong. Do you believe you did anything wrong?”
He couldn’t stop it. His only wrongdoing was not preventing it.
“Are you suggesting that you did not participate in the killing of Cindy?”
He was not there, he says.
“I was not there, if I had been there, I could have done something”
She confronts him on how two people were there, one stood on her while the other slashed her throat.
He says he would have stopped it if he was there. Still denying he was there.
She asks him about “hunting for women” throughout Phoenix.
He said he was only doing that for fun and sex.
His position is he was not involved. He only failed in preventing his brother from doing it.
She asks about his rape conviction and five years spent in prison in Germany.
“I find it unusual that you have been convicted of two offenses in two countries and don’t think you did anything to warrant that”
In both cases he blames the other people he was with (the rape was a gang rape where they left the woman for dead, returned to her apartment and burgarlized it).
He claims DNA testing said he was not involved in the rape (uh, this was the early 80’s — there was no DNA testing then). He also said something about the victim being a prostitute and he was only helping her out giving her money for services.
Only thing he cops to is that he didn’t prevent anyone else from the crime.
“Were you there with Cindy Monkman was murdered?” he’s asked again.
“I was not there”
“Why did you take out the $400,000 life insurance policy?” a male Board member asks.
He did not understand what it was — did not understand what the $400,000 actually meant.
“If you lied to all of those people during that period of time (he had already brought up the various car dealers, realtors etc that he admitted meeting and lying to), why should we believe you aren’t lying now?”
(this is my favorite of all this preposterous answers)
“I don’t have any reason to lie–I don’t see any reason to lie to you” (COUGH)
Ok, then they finished up with him, to return later for another statement and turned to me for my statement ( I went first).
I started by asking the Board if it was mandatory that I use the interpreter. She said that she understood the hassle that it was, but that she knew we wouldn’t want anything brought up on appeal, so since he requested it, we have to use it.
I then said “well I’ve been sitting here listening to him not have any restrictions on his speech and have ample time to say everything he wants to say, so I would like to request the same courtesy and not truncate my statement, which is three pages long”.
After some problem solving (they were nice and so was I), it was decided that I would read my statement fully first, then the interpreter be given the copy my advocate had right there (good planning) and he read it to Rudi in German. When she asked if I would be ok if they just got a copy of my statement and Rudi get the translation, I said “I want to read my words to you directly today in my own voice”.
It was a big moment for me and they accepted it.
I then read my statement fully and teared up a few times.
OH, but before that, I said “before I read, I would like to make a comment to him saying he was not present at the murder as I don’t know how much detail you are aware of of the crime. Rudi’s own expert proved in court that not only was he present, but he wielded the knife that slashed Cindy’s throat and stabbed her numerous times, while his brother stepped on her face. This was all proven in his trial. Not to mention the car he rented to drive out to the scene which left tire tracks there”.
Then I read my statement.
After me, went the ADA who said among other things, that he poses a deadly threat to society.
I see a note that said “no promise of rehabilitation or redemption–cannot support supervised release” but not sure who said that.
Then my victim attorney spoke and I’d like to get a copy of her statement, because she said something like “he does not possess human characteristics to warrant him being introduced back to society”. She also really stood up for our family — I’ll see if I can get a hold of what she said as I wasn’t taking notes then.
All of this of course in stops and starts for the interpreter.
Finally, it went back to Rudi again. He said he had “eight points” to finish with but I only got seven.
- Thanking the Board for giving him this opportunity.
- He wanted to go to school, but is prevented to (to learn English–he actually used some English words saying that, like “communication” that I understood).
- Something about the pandemic.
- Tried to donate blood but was not allowed to.
- Thanks them for the chance to present himself — treated the same way as a US citizen vs. German citizen–trying to become a good person.
- Has been a good person in prison–has no negative comments against him–would be a good person for parole.
- Wants to wish everyone a happy and healthy future and thank the American people and the Board.
At some point the moderator confronted him about his need for the interpreter and said something along the lines of “it seems that being incarcerated the majority of your life in America, with only English speaking people around you has made it almost certain that you understand and can speak English, but we have to do this interpreter for you because you requested it”. I think that was when she asked his approval for the way I wanted to read my statement, but nonetheless was satisfying to hear, as it was clear she knew, like we all did, how much he was gaming the system.
After all those years with Arellano championing for him, it’s refreshing to have an unbiased, intelligent professional perspective where it counts. It was clear that this Board does not buy the mental retardation distinction and seemed pretty disgusted that he even gets to go up for parole because of it. That sure was satisfying to hear as well.
The Board then had a discussion and took a vote. Some quotes from the discussion, which we were privy to:
“portrays himself as having diminished capacity, yet assertion is difficult to reconcile with his behavior purchasing cars and expensive homes”
“continues to claim he was simply a bystander”
“having trouble reconciling the fact he presents diminished capacity, but able to comport in such a conniving way”
The motion was made to deny and seconded and accepted with another “aye” in there somewhere.
Reasons for denial:
- Serious and violent offense
- Loss of human life
- Serious and devious offense
- Trauma to the victim
- History assaultive behavior and prior criminal record
- Lack of programming–no family or community support system
And then we adjourned.
It was exhausting honestly. The interpreter nonsense really bogged it down, but again, they get ALL the rights.
At the end the moderator said that in the future if the date falls on a difficult one like Cindy’s birthday again, just ask to reschedule and they will accommodate. I could tell she felt sincerely bad about that. They are a good bunch at the parole board and I don’t envy that job at all.
My husband stayed right there with me the whole time, fetching me water and kleenex. After going through all of this for so long without a partner, it feels amazing to have that kind of support. He’s such a good man and support system.
After it was over, I hopped in my car, called a friend (who has also been through this and a fairly recent parole hearing) and headed to the poultry farm where I got butter, eggs and chicken thighs. Stopped by my community garden plot and picked tomatoes and green peppers to use, came home and started cooking Cindy’s chicken cacciatore for her birthday. Also picked up a small cake at the grocery store.
Stepped out back for a glass of wine with my next door neighbor, who was perfect to be able to share with as she was one of the first prison WARDENS her entire career and such an interesting person. I told her I want to write her biography and her story should be made in to a movie or mini series. Don’t you agree?
So, this is done for another year. I may just retread this statement next year, but this year being her birthday, I felt like I needed to have some fresh words. Day by day, year by year, we keep moving on.
Thanks again to all who offered support near and far.
Oh,and this Tuesday I’ll be joining Tricia from Websleuths on her radio show to talk about this hearing, etc. I’ll post a quick link that day to remind anyone who might like to tune in.
Happy Fall y’all….I’ll finish with a little video from my country drive today, after helping my friend set up some gorgeous wedding flowers at a winery out in beautiful rural Pennsylvania. Life is good.