Rudi Apelt died of natural causes in prison this morning. Those are all the details I know. My attorney was informed and called to tell me. Over thirty years of having to deal with this evil; it’s over.
I cannot tell you the instant feeling of relief I had that has only deepened over the last three hours since I found out. My shoulders are dropping back to a place they have not visited in a very long time. I feel so free. I didn’t know how deeply I was carrying this trauma that just kept resurfacing, now that it’s gone.
This means no more parole hearings, ever. No more intrusions from his team of champions (although once they got him off death row they did exactly as I predicted in my impact statement–dropped him like a hot potato–not one, literally not ONE of them ever showed up at a parole hearing after spending about a decade fighting for him and his “intellectual disability”).
Michael, although having just launched a huge long appeal, while being on a list of 20 inmates who “have exhausted all appeals” (yeah try and figure that one out) will never be up for parole. So I’ll only have to deal with him sporadically as his appeals present themselves, but not every year like I did with Rudi.
Anyway, he’s dead. Thank God. I just wish my Dad had been here to experience this relief. He missed it by six months. Dad, he’s gone.
No press release yet, but here’s an article about one of his parole denials.
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”.
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.
My beautiful sister Cindy, never far from my thoughts
First off, I want to thank everyone who followed along with the parole hearing/Cindy’s birthday yesterday and offered support–here, Facebook, privately. It sure meant a lot to not have to go through that by myself.
I’m going to document how things went yesterday as the hearing was quite different and I learned some new things. I will say that I was shaking from the moment I woke up. That doesn’t really make sense as I’ve spoken to this Board in person and they were very welcoming and non-threatening. I didn’t fear that he would actually be granted parole, so not sure why I was so anxious. I’m sure many of you out there reading, who have gone through loss and tragedy, understand that often the process is not linear or predictable. One minute you’re fine, then the next struck down again. Hopefully those down moments become less severe and less frequent over time–that has been the case with me– yet they can often be completely blindsiding.
For those unfamiliar with our case, a little background. There is a pretty well detailed comprehensive story focusing on the insurance angle of Cindy’s murder here: When Underwriters Become Undertakers. It was written back in the 90’s when all that part happened–when we sued the insurance companies I mean. It’s good for people to know this can happen, aided and abetted by greedy insurance brokers.
Both of the killers were convicted of First Degree Murder and Conspiracy to commit murder. The sentences were Death and Life WITHOUT parole in that order. Our amazing prosecutor Cathy Hughes was adamant about securing both convictions/sentences, warning us that things can change over time so you want to have every safeguard that they will never be released. I remember thinking that was extreme at the time, but it sure turned out to be frighteningly correct.
Michael and Rudi Apelt were tried and sentenced in 1990/91. Twelve years later, the Supreme Court ruled that people with mental incapacities could not be subjected to the death penalty–called the Atkins ruling. Of course, our family agrees with this, especially considering my father is a Psychologist who worked at length with that population.
There is a lot of legal support for death row inmates. Some lawyers make it their entire career–attempting to free them on every and any technicality. It can be a nice financially rewarding career for them as most death row inmates remain on the row, not receiving their sentences but appealing, for decades. Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars are spent fighting to get our “worst of the worst” reduced sentences or released from prison. It’s a pretty comfortable and lucrative gig for many attorneys. I’ve said before, the worst of the worst of our society receive the best of the best legal assistance–at our expense. I know this intimately. It was estimated that among other lengthy and costly expenses keeping these killers on death row, this one hearing I’m about to tell you about cost around 10 million TAXPAYER dollars. Let that sink in. TEN MILLION dollars that you and I spent, not at our discretion, trying to free two German sociopaths who never paid a dime in to American tax coffers, from their sentences.
Michael Apelt, Rudi Apelt and their accomplice Anke Dorn as they looked at the time of the murder.
A group began launching an appeal for the Apelts shortly after the Atkins ruling. I really didn’t take it seriously at first. I mean if you read the article above and/or know the facts of the case, you know that these men were very sophisticated con men– uneducated– but successful in manipulation. Beyond my sister, who they conned away her very life, they fooled luxury car dealers, custom home builders/realtors, boat sellers, Rolex watch dealers, insurance salesmen and countless women that they were anything from wealthy financiers to computer experts to professional athletes to pilots. All of this was presented in court with all of those people testifying.
This was in one season in Phoenix alone. Their histories show dozens of arrests in Germany for fraudulent schemes, rape, prostitution, theft, burglary, arson. This was all before either of them turned 27. Their bravado in pulling off the scheme to murder Cindy for life insurance was well founded–they had been getting away with these kinds of crimes for years–in fact most of their lives. They stole and sold the rental car they used to drive to the Paris airport to even get to the US to begin their killing spree for money.
So, how that all could be computed in to “mental retardation” was unfathomable. And terrifying ultimately, as this seven year long process to go to trial wore on. It was being taken very seriously. Especially by the Judge who oversaw it and came out of retirement to complete it.
Silvia Arellano was the Judge involved and the only finder of fact. There was no fair and impartial jury as in the original trials–just her. Over time, with her rulings alone, it became clear she was not just being fair to the murderers, she was holding bias toward them. So much so, that the AZ Attorney General’s office took it to the AZ Supreme Court to have her recused for bias. I don’t know if we will ever know where her bias toward these murderers originated, but my guess based on other hunches, was that she decided she was against the death penalty, so wanted to end her career by taking someone off death row. And she did just that. We did not prevail with the Supreme Court and she remained on this “mental retardation” case until the very end.
An example of her leanings toward them, was a ruling ordering our original prosecutor Cathy Hughes off the case, who came out of her own retirement to steer the ship for the State. You see, our original prosecutor who had also been fighting and prepping for this trial for SEVEN YEARS like those defending the brothers (yes, they were trying to deem them both “mentally retarded”), was moved to another division and just as the trial was beginning, literally weeks away. We ended up with a new prosecutor in the AG’s office who had to get up to speed on the last SEVEN YEARS in just over a month. Cathy was scared. This new lawyer also had a husband at home dying of cancer–she was distracted and frankly, it showed. On their side was a team of lawyers and their assistants and big money backing them–not to mention every anti-death penalty group around. On our side was a new prosecutor, my Dad and me and our advocates.
The inimitable Cathy Hughes, one of the best people I will ever know.
She decided that since Cathy Hughes had become friendly with our family and had vacationed at our beach house in the past, this was grounds for removal. Luckily, those higher up when her decision was appealed, did not agree with her and Cathy was allowed (pro-bono, mind you) back on the case. It was clear that Silvia Arellano was simply trying to sabotage any chance the State had for upholding these sentences. She paved the way every single way she could.
The clearest example of her bias, was her decision to disallow any and all information in the trial about the Apelts beyond their ages of 18. Meaning, she ruled that anything and everything related to their CRIMES or their adult behavior (the other criminal histories in Germany) was disallowed in making her decision for their sentencing for those crimes. She literally set the entire thing up where she could only consider anything related to their early lives that could be stretched or interpreted in to “mental retardation” to decide what their sentences would be. It was just one hit after another with her and to this day, she disgusts me after putting us through that. Putting my elderly father through all that who sat in court every day of that hearing, enduring her ass-kissing of these killers.
You may wonder why the prospect of these men being released from death was so impactful. We really weren’t attached to, nor anticipating their execution. You can’t live like that as there is like a 1% likelihood that will ever happen. But since their other sentence option was life WITH parole (there was no life WITHOUT parole sentence in 1990-but there is now), and they were both sentenced while in their 20’s, then there was a real option they could go from death row to the streets in about five years if they were granted parole. It was horrifying.
There were so many assaults and intrusions to our family during and around that hearing–it made the original trials look like preschool.
In the end, Arellano ruled that Rudi Apelt was indeed “mentally retarded” and would be released from death row. She ruled against Michael. I guess she fulfilled her life dream of releasing a person from death row and that was enough. Then we faced the next hurdle.
Rudi’s defense team didn’t find that win quite enough, and since they had the entire deck stacked on their side, they decided to take it the distance.
Remember, he has now two sentences that were running consecutively–life WITH parole in 25 years, that rolled over in to that same sentence again. In essence, secured in prison for 50 years. But no, that wouldn’t do, so they argued for Arrellano to convert those sentences to CONCURRENT–meaning he would be serving both at the same time. This also meant that he would be not only removed from death row and in to the General population, but he would be up for release in five short years from the time this decision was made. Right back to the streets to continue his life of conning, murdering and raping women (did I mention he had served five years in Germany for a violent gang rape? Yeah, that was disallowed for consideration in her “mental retardation” decision too).
I had had it with her. I knew she would rule in his favor like she had done all along. I knew it was going concurrent and that we would just have to hope the Parole Board would never let him out. I had no more fight in me against this heinous Judge.
The night before that re-sentencing hearing, I was at the American Idol concert (yes I did get to see Adam Lambert perform :D) at got a text from my victim’s rights attorney–the one I had to get during the mental retardation trial after my rights got terribly trampled on by their side sending someone to my home unannounced, but that’s another story (she changed the law so they can never do that again to another victim). Anyway, she asked if I was planning to attend. I said no. She wrote back “I think you need to be there”.
So, once again, I stayed up until 2am writing another impact statement which you can read here. I drove through the desert alone to Florence where the original trials were held, sat with my attorney alone on our side watching his filling up with lookie-loos interested in how to get their killers off death row. I saw Rudi in person for the first time in 18 years. By the way, neither of them attended the mental retardation trial. I guess their attorneys thought they might not look the part well enough and bias the Judge to who they really are vs. who they wanted to pretend they are.
As they looked when we met them in 1988.
His attorney started the process by turning around and addressing me personally, offering a weak “apology” for all they had put my family through, that it wasn’t personal, blah blah. I held my head straight, did not indicate accepting of it as I knew he was trying to soften me. He likely thought I wasn’t attending this final re-sentencing and I was the only person really there to make an impact for our side (aka Justice). I’m a Scorpio–those tactics actually backfire on me. It just gave me more strength to say what I had to.
mugshots from around the time of the mental retardation trial
I gave my impact statement about 8 feet away from Arellano and confronted her bias in it–telling her that I did not expect my words to fall on her deaf ears as her bias was fully out there. But hoping that my words would help someone down the road who reviews her decision on appeal, make a more fair and considered decision.
The most poignant moment of that for me was when I got to the part where I described how my Dad and I usually sat alone on the side of the State, while the side of the killers was packed with onlookers hoping for hints to argue leniency for their murderer clients. Then I looked up to that exact scene–my attorney sitting alone behind the prosecutor and rows of suits behind the murderer–the man who slit Cindy’s throat. I raised my hand and moved it left to right, Carol Merrill-style, and improvised “exactly what I’m seeing right here”. I hope I made at least one person question the presence of their own ass in that seat–on the side of evil.
Shortly after I spoke, Arrellano broke, then returned and delivered her decision.
Miraculously, she ruled that his sentences would remain consecutive. Our backup sentence stayed in place. It was the one and only win we enjoyed in this entire battle.
The Assistant AG took me in a side room after it was over and we all were shaking our heads in disbelief. No one expected this outcome.
This was an entirely new attorney on the case by that time (lots of turnover in the AG’s office at the time), but he was clearly on the same page we were, and had been appraised of the bias against us. He said to me “that was all you” about my statement.
That was at one time gratifying to know my words had potentially made an impact, but at the same time my own life sentence. I knew then and there, that I would have to keep speaking up. That there was no real “letting go” of this whole process without dire consequences.
Which leads me up to yesterday’s parole hearing.
I’ll write that in a separate post as this one has gone on too long as it is and is a lot to digest.
So stay tuned. I’ll have it completed today, I promise.
Like you, I hesistate to address you on my blog, likely for different reasons that you hestitated addressing me. I’m sensing that you likely considered how inappropriate it would be for you to come to my “home” here, and say the things you did. My hesitation, though, is more about giving you more attention than what you are seeking for yourself. So, let me be clear. I am using you as an example. I am addressing you for the sole purpose of allowing my other readers to see what the aftermath of the death penalty is really about for families of victims. So, your contribution is valuable.
For those who missed it, Marian made a comment on the blog here, related to a post I shared about the True Conviction show airing. In fact, on that particular post, I wrote specifically, about how the show was so healing for me to participate in, which it was. The very act of making me go through photographs and memories, opened some doors in my heart that I had been afraid of knocking on for some time. The way I was treated by the entire production team, including Anna Sigga Niccolazzi, was so respectful. And I guess on some level, after all this time, it just feels good to know people still care about Cindy. I don’t know if you even read the post you replied to Marian, but that makes your comment even more bizarre.
Here is Marian’s comment to me:
MARIAN VEENKER Kathy, I am not sure if I should leave a reply here, but the case is near to my heart as I have been writing with Michael for 2 years now. I don’t know if he did the crime or not. All I know that he wholly believes in his innocence and that he has been treated very badly in the American prisons. Even Amnesty has made a report about it. He has been in solitariy confinement for over 25 years. If he was ever guilty he has had his punishment. Each person deserves forgiveness. Of course I cannot or ever will be able to understand your pain and anger. All I know is that forgivess is the best healer. I wish you strength and courage and above all healing. Marian
And this was my reply back to her, yesterday:
Marian, I do understand that there is a culture of people (usually women) who feel the need to write murderers in prison and feel sympathy for them. Some even marry sociopaths like Michael Apelt (one already did then divorced him as I understand). I do understand this phenomenon and like you cannot understand my pain, I certainly cannot understand your motivation for this attempt to save a murderer. Yet I would not ever take it upon myself to attempt to “school” you on how you, a stranger, chooses to live their life.
Michael Apelt, wearing the same European -made, size 15 Reebok tennis shoe (you do know he’s 6 foot 7 , so has an unusually large foot), stood on my sister’s face while she was still alive, leaving his foot print behind as a bruise. I guess you might think there would be another man, who purchased a unique European Reebok tennis shoe with this exact same print, who would have had a motive to kill her and lie like Michael did about “ever wearing tennis shoes because they made his feet stink”, who committed this murder. Guess that didn’t work out too well, when a photograph was discovered still in my sister’s camera, of him posing wearing those exact European made Reebok tennis shoes, of the same large size. Maybe you saw this photo on True Conviction. It was real. The jury who convicted him saw it blown up as poster sized in the courtroom. Of course he disposed of the bloody shoes, as he did his clothing, according to his other accomplice Anke Dorn.
Or a man who commandeered the car Michael was known to be driving out there in the desert that night, destroy the tires, then have those destroyed tires recovered which matched the tire tracks at the scene. I could go on and on but perhaps you would like to purchase and read the book I’m writing on the case when it comes out.
In the meantime, maybe you’d like to contact his appellate lawyers who have already admitted he committed the murder (and conspiracy) yet claim he was “mentally retarded” at the time. Or you could choose to believe this con artist, because it seems you get something out of it. But surely, we can both agree, that I’m not going to join you in your confusion. Keep reading, hopefully, you will learn something.
Now, this morning, I realized I have a few more things to say.
Marian, you are not the first person to barge in to my life with this kind of inappropriate and disrespectful intrusion. Several years ago, during the lengthy, expensive (ten million plus AMERICAN TAX PAYER dollars) appeal hearing to determine whether your boyfriend is mentally retarded or not, I got a knock on my door in early December. It was unusually cold for an Arizona day, so I looked at the shivering, friendly faced female standing on my doorstep holding an official looking lawyerly business card, asking about our case and invited her in. Surely, she had shown up on my doorstep uninvited and unannounced (just like you did Marian), with some kind of need to talk to me about my involvement in our case, from our side.
Shortly after this woman took a seat in my living room–my living room strewn with boxes of Christmas decorations I had just pulled out in my yearly agonizing set of decisions of whether to decorate for Christmas or not (you do remember Michael Apelt slaughtered my sister in the desert two days before Christmas, I’m sure)–I realized something was amiss. She was talking to me about sympathy for this man who had conned and destroyed the most important person in my life.Sympathy. Right around the anniversary of her murder. Kind of like you Marian. But you decided to confront me like that during another vulnerable time–right at the time the show aired displaying my grief for the world to see. Even to people like you, all the way across the globe. You saw my agony and grief and chose that to be your moment to strike, didn’t you? Just like that woman who showed up in my home. Your strategic timing, like hers, speaks volumes.
Once I figured out her motive–to try and glean my assistance for this ridiculous mental retardation hearing, I kicked her out of my home. Not before she was reduced to tears though. Maybe she had a brief moment of clarity when she saw a true victim.
Now Marian, unlike you, she was not questioning his guilt. She realized that he did commit the murder. That he did take my sister Cindy out to the desert that cold, dark night with promises of a new home “surprise” he was showing her. Instead, his brother laid in wait with a knife. That woman knew he did it, unlike you. But she thought he might be “mentally retarded”, so should be given leniency.
Let me ask you this. You think Michael Apelt has been treated poorly in our system. What do you think of the millions of dollars in legal assistance he has received at American taxpayer expense? Let me say it again: MILLIONS OF AMERICAN DOLLARS to defend him. I’m not talking about housing and food and medical care — I’m strictly talking about defense. Do you find that unfair?
Now, let me do a small amount of education for you about the man you seem so interested in believing, in terms of his “belief” in his own innocence.
Maybe you’d like to do some more digging in to his past and his lengthy rap sheet from Germany. The one that includes burglary, theft, insurance fraud, and prostitution. There is more but you get the drift. Let’s not forget, he was 25 when he slaughtered my sister in the desert, so his German crimes were committed from his teens to his early 20’s.
Do you know that, oh, about 7 other women came forward who he was conning and stealing from at the same time he married and was plotting to murder my sister? He stole money and checks from their purses and in one scheme, convinced one of them that he was dead so his brother could get money from her for his funeral. Yeah, he even sent a telegram to his brother, from the grave. I think they got a couple thousand from that lady. Then there were the Rolex dealers, all of the luxury car dealers in Phoenix and a custom home builder who came to court telling tales of these tall German brothers who had convinced them they were anything from professional athletes to pilots. Everyone believed them, they were that good. They were pre-spending the life insurance on Cindy, while she was alive and making the money they were stealing.
Then, finally, you might be interested in the copycat murder plot Michael Apelt cooked up in the jail before he was convicted. Yeah, that other inmate brought notes Michael had made, including maps, detailing how he should murder his own wife and make it look identical to how he had killed my sister, so it could throw off the trial thinking there was a copycat serial killer out there. I’ve seen those notes he wrote. He wanted another woman to be viciously taken from her loved ones to help free him–he promised his brother in another note I’ve seen that they would be out of jail soon because of his plot. He still thought he would be receiving that $400K of life insurance from Cindy and would pay this man from that.
Those are just a very few details that will be covered in the book I”m writing. You see, unlike you, I’ve read every single word about our case from police reports (including old ones from Germany), interviews (including with your boyfriend), testimony (including Michael’s which I sat through) and autopsy reports. I have all of the information which I will be sharing, including my sister’s own diary so you can understand better how she was conned by this man you so want to champion.
So, thank you for allowing me to educate people further on the aftermath of the death penalty for families. There are people, like you, laying in wait to torture us with your own twisted agendas, even nearly 30 years after the fact.
I will end with a few pictures of my sister for you. The one your penpal stepped on the face of while his brother cut her throat. This is who she was in life. She was my everything, and the only victim here. Don’t get it twisted.
Just got word from my Victim Advocate that Rudi Apelt was denied parole for his Life WITH parole commutated sentence for the murder of my sister.
You can read about it, along with my statement that she read to the parole board here.
I was heartened but not surprised that no one was there at the hearing to support him. He was surrounded for years by death penalty opponents fawning all over him, as they exploited him, and the system, in their attempts to abolish the death penalty one murderer at a time. I literally predicted in my last victim impact statement that they would drop him like a hot potato once they accomplished their goal of getting him released from death row and it appears I was right. Good.
He had an interpreter who slowed the whole hearing down by having to stop every sentence and interpret for Rudi who was on a screen and not in attendance in person. Knowing this, I may go next year and read my statement myself.
I guess he sat behind that screen, in the prison or wherever, claiming he knew nothing about the crime. Don’t think that approach impressed the parole board.
He will never get out of prison but that doesn’t mean we can get too relaxed about it. That, I’ve learned the hard way.
I received word from one of my Victim Advocates yesterday that a parole hearing is to be held next Tuesday for Rudi Apelt. Rudi is the brother of the man Cindy married who assisted him with her murder for life insurance. He is actually the person who wielded the knife in the desert on the night of December 23, 1988, stabbing her multiple times and slashing her throat. This was proven in court by his own expert Vincent DiMaio. You can read about that Perry Mason moment here.
Rudi was sentenced to death in 1990 for the first-degree murder, then a life WITH parole sentence for the conspiracy. Nineteen years later, his death sentence was commuted because one Judge , Silvia Arellano, decided to release him from Death Row under a mental retardation claim. Once the Federal Supreme Court ruled that we can’t execute the mentally retarded (a ruling I agree with), suddenly both of these scheming conmen became “mentally retarded” overnight according to their attorneys, and those championing against the death penalty, one murderer at a time.
Rudi’s sentence was commuted to life WITH parole which, thankfully, Arellano decided to run consecutively to the conspiracy Life WITH parole sentence vs the concurrent option they argued for. Arellano, the biased Judge, had also ruled that nothing, not one thing, in their lives after the age of 18 could be considered in her decision–read: THE CRIMES FOR WHICH THEY WERE CONVICTED COULD NOT BE CONSIDERED IN THE DECISION FOR SENTENCE FOR THE CRIMES THEY COMMITTED. It was a terrifying time as this monster could have gone from Death Row to up for parole in five short years after that commutation.
Yes, it seems like a moot point or a formality that he should be given these yearly parole hearings for the first sentence he is serving, as he’s eight years into the second 25 to Life sentence. He could be granted parole on the first one and still turn right around to his cell to continue the second one. BUT, I’ve become a bit educated on how prisoners become victims over the years, and how attorneys make big bucks championing murderers and I don’t trust any of it. So, yes, I wrote a letter to the parole board and I guess I will each year, to make sure no one ever considers releasing him from prison or giving him any leniency.
I suspect he will continue, along with his disgusting champions, to try and play the “mentally retarded” card and since I’ve been informed it’s a fairly new parole board who may not know the case, I decided to do a bit of educating on exactly who Rudi Apelt is.
Here is a copy of my letter that my advocate will be reading into the record next Tuesday. I won’t be in AZ at that time and frankly, I never want to be in the same room with either of those sociopaths ever again so her reading my words to their faces is just fine with me.
the face of a monster
Here it is (apologies for it being dense to read–Wordpress is not letting me put paragraphs on this when I edited it):
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.
I got to thinking about this Juror 17 possible misconduct/stealth/whatever issue and this is an analogy that I came up with.
First off, they had one clear and simple decision–do the aggravators in this trial outweigh the mitigators (or vice versa)? I know not really simple but they weren’t there to decide the merits of the death penalty, if Jodi Arias deserved to die, etc. They were to weigh those factors side by side and say which side outweighs the other. It the mitigator list did not outweigh the aggravator list, the sentence they were to render was Death. Plain and simple. This juror, from all I’ve put together, seems to have refused to do that task. She went on “feelings”, what Jodi Arias looked like, “revenge” and other unrelated issues from the task at hand.
She was also not to consider whether Travis Alexander was a bad person and deserved to die. That was on neither list although what the defense primarily based their case on throughout hoping to get an errant juror to sway from their duty. And they did (unless there was something else nefarious going on which I’m entirely suspicious of personally–time will tell).
It’s like they were handed two bushels–one was apples, the other oranges. They were to make one decision only–which of these baskets has the freshest fruit. That would require going through each of the pieces of apples and oranges and determining their degree of freshness. Let’s take it a step further and say the oranges were just picked, juicy, fragrant and full of their orangey goodness. The apple bushel contained many which were bruised, rotting and full of worms although a few fresh ones were sprinkled in.
The group decides to take all the fruit out and line it up and look at each piece and see, overall, which ‘weighs out” as the freshest overall. They count, they turn them around in their hand, they smell them, they take the time to be clear on their determination even though at the outset it might seem obvious.
Then there is Juror 17 who refuses to look at any of the pieces of fruit with them. She stands back by herself saying she likes apples. She thinks apples get a bad rap generally so she’s on the side of apples. And she thinks the oranges get it too easy so apples, in any condition, are better than oranges. The rest of the group asks her to come and look at all the apples, show them why she thinks they are “better” or “more fresh” , convince them that the apple bushel is the freshest. They even beg her to make her case to them so they can understand her affinity for those apples.
She refuses to participate in this and says they are “attacking her” over her deep love and preference for apples. She feels that they are the freshest so in her mind, they will the bushel she votes for no matter what. She won’t even look at the oranges much less pick one up and smell it. In fact, she kind of resents the oranges for wanting to ‘win” as she feels pity for the apples thinking someone should champion for them so that’s what she’s going to do no matter what. Besides her brother once fell out of an orange tree and broke his arm so she’s never cared much for oranges since he had to go to the hospital over that.
She hangs up the entire judging firmly refusing to look at the fruit but determining based on her predetermined preferences that this is the way she’s going to vote.
Then she goes home, reaches in to her own fruit bowl and takes a smiling bite of a ripe juicy apple, looks back at it and sees the back end of a wiggling worm right in the center, chomped in half by her own teeth. She doesn’t even spit it out, because she thinks that somehow, some way she can still make a case for that apple while she prepares her law$uit against the worm.
I don’t mind arrogance, I really don’t. If someone has the goods to spread their peacock wings and strut, I can celebrate that with the best of them. I do it myself from time to time in my own way. If I know I’m right about something or championing a cause I can and will strut out loud in living color.
What I don’t have patience for though is arrogance without the goods to back it up. That will trip my Scorpion tail to rise like most any other thing.
And I ran in to it yesterday on twitter. Now let’s get something straight, I rarely participate on twitter. I do have over a thousand posts but they are kind of OCD looking. Meaning I don’t do anything then when there is something I need to engage twitter to express myself in, like this Jodi Arias retrial, I will bite the bullet and go there. I don’t really get it, it’s not my natural vibe, I don’t want to get it but if it’s the only place to be I will suck it up and do my best. My best is often bulleting the twittersphere with my point then disengaging. Now I’m not saying this is the correct way to go about it. In fact it’s likely something social media advisors would, well, advise against. I don’t really care. I’m not there to be social, I’m there to make points generally. Just keepin it real.
I ran in to something that ignited that tail rising yesterday or the day before. It has to do with the death penalty appeals process in Arizona which I am, unfortunately, far too intimately acquainted with. My sister’s killers have been appealing now for 24 years. One got off death row in a ridiculous mental retardation claim which cost taxpayers at least 10 million to hear it. I don’t want to go in to all of that but will say what I’ve said before.
The worst treatment my family ever received in the entire legal process around my sister’s homicide and two death penalty trials was from appeals lawyers and their representatives. Including the Judge who presided over those proceedings.
Back to now. I ran in to an uninformed tweeter who claimed that another tweeter, a lawyer, had educated her that Jodi Arias will receive only one paid appeal if sentenced to death and the rest will be on her own dime. This was in response to a video I saw where Arias’ parents are soliciting money for “legal defense”. Of course I know, totally, that they don’t need to come up with any funds for Arias’ legal defense. That will all be, and has been, covered by the AZ taxpayers even though, like the men who killed Cindy, Arias never contributed a dime to AZ tax coffers. Ok maybe a couple of dimes when she claimed to have worked as a waitress for about 5 seconds.
This tweeter then pointed me to the “lawyer” who she found credible on this topic, so I began addressing him.
His name is Brent J. Kleinman and he apparently has a law practice in AZ focusing, what it seems like, primarily estate planning law. I don’t see anything on his website about criminal law, much less death penalty law. He does however boast “entertainment law” there which may explain why he’s been hanging around this high profile Arias trial like so many others seeking the spotlight. He also boasts a video on his site where he is…wow…on the Channel 12 news talking about the trial! I wonder how many times a day he watches himself there.
I’m only being snarky about Brent because he’s continuing to tweet entirely misinformed bullshit details about the Death Penalty appeals process and seems to claim some credibility because he did go to law school and pass the bar. He also claims to have volunteered time for the Justice Project AZ but then anyone can say anything. If that’s true, he’s also been misinformed there, is not paying attention or intentionally propagandizing in support of killers.
@katiecoolady i have not walked through one as you have. I worked with the Justice Project AZ that donates legal services to help DP inmates
Among other tidbits of wrong information, he claims that Jodi would get only one paid appeal by the State if sentenced to death and in reality it is the STATE who incurs most of the costs in death penalty appeals.
Pardon me, I just choked there for a second.
Let’s get this straight. He claims the State sentences these killers to death, then proceeds to waste millions of taxpayer money fighting to overturn their own sentence. Or somehow their responses to these decades of claims against the trial/case/police/judge etc. are the things that cost the most.
oh yes he did
Cindy’s killers are from Germany. Her appeals lawyers flew to Germany on at least one occasion to research their “mental retardation” while flying witnesses over from Germany to testify. That’s just some of many expenses they burdened AZ taxpayers with for seven years once the Supreme Court decided a decade after these sociopaths were sentenced to death that we can’t execute the mentally retarded and they all overnight became mentally retarded. See here.
Yet Brent Kleinman, is with a straight face, tweeting that it’s the STATE’S fault these death penalty appeals processes are so costly.
I don’t like anything that blames the victim.
Appeals lawyers make their entire living pouring over trials seeking loopholes for which these murderers to leap through. One I know personally (and believe it or not am friends with) charges the State $350 an hour to do just that. And she’s good at it. And one of MANY who do this kind of tedious research.
And yet Brent Kleinman wants the twittersphere to believe that somehow all of these destitute death row murderers are paying for all of this on their own. Or they are having other raise funds for them to cover these millions of dollar invoices. Like Jodi Arias parents are claiming to do.
He pulled his tail between his legs this morning and retreated with this:
@katiecoolady I understand the personal nature of this discussion for you. DP appeals can’t be properly discussed in 140 characters or less.
Let me provide the subtitles for you:
It’s clear I’ve gotten over my head in this discussion so I’m going to bow out and go work on someone’s Will right now.
But he’s made his mark and I’m gonna keep letting him display this bold caricature of ignorance if he keeps trying to pull the wool over uneducated AZ taxpayer’s eyes.
He can’t have it both ways. Trying to promote himself by tweeting and going on TV talking about the guilt of Jodi Arias then be one of the people who claims she and those like her have been mistreated via the death penalty therefore deserve a new trial (at taxpayer expense) or worse yet, parole or even more horrifying, release from prison.
They are out there disguised as all kinds of things–journalists with agendas helping defense teams, estate planning/ entertainment lawyers, your next door neighbor.
I’m not saying no appeals should be allowed. This thing has just gotten so bloated and out of control that it’s its own monster now. Fueled by well meaning souls who manage to justify torturing grieving families in the name of “justice” for murderers or really in the same of some kind of other internal savior agenda driving them or in the name of having no conscience just like the killers themselves. Yes I’ve seen a few of those too.
One of the attorneys who championed for Rudi Apelt to be removed from death row, turned and offered an apology to me directly in open court before I gave my impact statement. Way too late and way too manipulative. Right before the Judge made her final decision he chose that moment to express this display of fauxpology. He had spent 7 years dragging my family through this ringer over and over yet wants to smoothe it over with a public apology in front of the judge? Poser. I looked straight ahead then went up on that stand and kicked his ass. And she ruled against him. For once. I was later told by the AG that it was my Victim Impact statement, published here, that influenced that decision in their opinion.
That’s what this process creates out of us. And you have several choices–one is to ignore it completely but then they will show up on your front door without notice.
I rarely think about the Apelts. I get notices from the AG’s office (my victim advocate) and toss them without opening. I’ve told her/him (it’s been many over the years) to call me if there’s something I need to know. Otherwise I don’t let this intrude in to my life/home/consciousness.
But this Arias trial has stirred things up. I’m bonded with Travis and his family now and I won’t be silent. Until I am again.
Then I will hop back in to my own trajectory of the life I’m living untainted by these constant attempts at tainting.
And I’m talking to you too Brent Kleinman. Think of that next time to try to help a death row inmate get off the row or worse yet back in to society. Think of that next time you spew your misinformation in to the twittersphere for others to believe. It could be the mother of a child who was murdered and dumped you are tossing salt in to her open wound. Someone a lot less strong than me. In the meantime it’s me you’ve got to deal with. And I will stop exposing you, when I stop.
Arrogance with the truth? Go for it. Arrogance from the ignorant? You will be called out.
Without awareness there is no choice. Be careful who’s word you are gonna believe.
I decided a few months ago that I would no longer attend the Jodi Arias trial in person for personal reasons. The retrial started this week and I am supporting the family from afar in my own private ways. I’m also following things on twitter where I’m uncharacteristically tweeting (probably doing it all wrong as I’m not really familiar with the system) and sharing some things about the death penalty and murder trials and this “victim” position I’ve found myself in for 25 years.
The causes that are important to me have to do with trial reform and death penalty appeals reform. Let me just preface this by saying that I am in no way attached to Cindy’s killer who remains on death row, Michael Apelt, being executed. I know the odds are very slim that we will ever see it happen and it’s not important to me. Or to the rest of my family. So let’s get that out of the way. What’s important though is he never be released from prison. When her murderers were sentenced in 1990, the State of AZ had no LWOP (Life Without the possibility Of Parole) so the only sentence that made sense was Death. They were young men, violent, dangerous predators and the death penalty was the only sentence which would maintain them in prison for the rest of their lives. It was a no brainer.
Rudi Apelt, the man who literally slit Cindy’s throat from ear to ear, was released from Death Row in 2009, 18 years after he was sentenced, on a “mental retardation” claim. In fact, it was argued for both killers as soon as the Supreme Court ruled we can’t execute the mentally retarded. Poof! They became mentally retarded. Both of these sophisticated, well planned out, well strategized murderers and con men were argued to be mentally retarded (that link takes you to a very good article on this appeal). The biased Judge, the only finder of fact, Silvia Arellano, ruled almost every single argument in their favor to the tune of seven years and 10 million dollars preparing and executing this ridiculous appellate mini trial. My Dad and I had to testify as did some of our family friends. It was clear to me Arellano held a bias and I learned at some point that she was planning to retire right after this decision. One of her most egregious rulings was that nothing, as in NOTHING could be admitted in to evidence to argue retardation after the age of 18 for the murderers. Meaning, read this carefully: EVIDENCE OF THE CRIME COULD NOT BE CONSIDERED TOWARD THE DECISION FOR THE SENTENCE FOR THE CRIME.
It has always been my belief that she intended to take out her tenure as a Judge with a big splash and let a Death Row inmate off the Row. So she set it up that way. And that she did. My Victim Impact Statement around this, that I read to a courtroom packed on the side of the killer and empty on the side of the State save my attorney, is posted at the end of this post. Please read it.
Judge Silvia Arellano who treated my family very very poorly while championing for two killers on Death Row–she released a violent killer from Death Row single handedly
The joke was kind of on all of them ultimately because those brothers had been afforded the luxury of being housed in cells on Death Row one on top of the other for many years I’m told. When you are locked in a cell 23 hours a day that is about 7 feet wide and you are 6 foot 5 and 6 foot 7 and a non-native English speaker, I suspect having your brother within barking distance through a vent is a pretty fine luxury. They lost that proximity with this win; Rudi was moved to another prison altogether and they will never see or speak to each other ever again.
Death penalty opponents are the loudest voices out there, speaking of barking, about all kinds of causes to champion these worst of the worst of our society they’ve deemed new “victims”. They rant about many things for these murderers, not the least of which this argument about how the death penalty is so expensive. While at the same time, demanding decades of ridiculous, frivolous, lengthy and costly appeals to the tune of millions of taxpayer dollars per killer. Tens of millions actually. PER KILLER. Yes, I do agree it’s expensive and I know who’s making it so. And I know who’s paying for it: you and me.
Opponents also like to spout about how the death penalty is thwarted by angry family members hell bent on vengeance. While they refuse to leave family members alone to grieve, sometimes showing up on their doorstep unannounced of, say, the sister of a murder victim asking her to assist in her sister’s murderer’s appeal. Right within a couple of weeks of the anniversary of her sister’s murder. At Christmas time. Strategized thinking this might be a good time to ambush her as she might be more raw, more vulnerable–aka more manipulatable. Unmitigated gall.
So yes, the death penalty needs reform. Why do we as a culture think it’s ok to impose a sentence we know will never really be carried out? How many people actually pay attention to what happens after a killer receives the death penalty? I’m here to tell you, not many. Not many at all, other than those championing for the killers. Most death row inmates have a better chance of being struck by lightning and killed within the confines of the prison than they ever do being executed. At least in states like AZ and CA. Yet these opponents love to use terminology like “the State wants to kill this person”. They’re not stupid. They know the chance of actual execution is almost nil. Yet they love to perpetuate the drama like this while blaming families for being “angry” “vengeful” “unforgiving”.
Dragging out the process and it’s impact on families is one of my causes that I’m using this platform to speak about because I believe “without awareness there is no choice”. I’m not some pious person spouting opinions and morality plays. I’m living this every single day.
There is another big issue related to this which I will write more about down the road. Stay tuned.
Don’t get me wrong. These concerns don’t dominate my life in the remotest way. I have a brilliant, free and enviable life (if you look at my present that is). Heck I’d envy it myself if I wasn’t living it. But I’ve had to navigate a mine field to enjoy it. I’ve learned those skills well but really, why put an innocent casualty of a sociopathic killer in a mine field to live out their life? Intentionally. And keep throwing bombs at them throughout their entire life in the name of “justice” or “saving a life”? Shame on you. And it happens to people more vulnerable than me: parents of murdered children, elderly victims, people like my brother.
I think know the system needs reform. I do think there needs to be a higher level of punishment for the worst of the worst in our society, like Jodi Arias so we can at least find out if it can be a deterrent. How can anyone ever research the deterrent effect of death penalty effectively when the consequence being fulfilled is so unlikely for the killer, so remote that it doesn’t even exist in the same lifetime. With killers who normally, by nature, don’t consider consequences in the first place?
I have ideas that don’t involve execution that I’d be completely happy with. One where those millions wasted on killers’ appeals could go to say, the homeless or the mentally ill. What a concept right? One where a quality of life for this evil person fits the crime, is in some way escalated and where they lose all possibility of ever being released. EVER. As it stands now, I sincerely believe a death row inmate has a higher possibility of prison release than a lifer doing time for a non violent crime. Simply because they have more help. And really really good help. At our expense whether we like it or not.
I don’t like it.
Things can change. That little bitch worm murderer advocate who showed up on my doorstep that December morning asking me to help Cindy’s killer get out of prison will never be able to do that again to anyone else because she did it to me. My victims’ rights lawyer, because this happened to me, changed legislation and closed the loophole to disallow this kind of victim abuse to ever happen again in the State of AZ. It was traumatic, unnecessary and abusive.
We can make a difference. And my first step is just speaking up about some of these things. With some street cred.
And I think while people are embedded in thoughts of the death penalty regarding Jodi Arias, which by the way she deserves, it’s a good time for me to be doing just that.
I hope this kicks a pebble that starts some kind of avalanche. And if anyone out there reading has a direction to point me, please send me the compass. I’m all ears.
Dedicated to my sister Cindy Monkman.
9/16/1958 – 12/23/1988
My Victim Impact Statement after the mental retardation ruling on Rudi Apelt:
Why have I chosen to take time out of my busy schedule once again to drive to Florence to give this impact statement? I ask myself the same question as I honestly don’t think anything I have to say will make much difference or cause much impact toward the decision on resentencing this defendant but the question always is “can I live with myself if certain decisions are made and know I’ve said nothing?
So, here I am with a few things to say.
I don’t intend to get in to the impact this crime itself has had on me personally or on my family. Partly because I don’t think it’s necessary at this stage and partly because I think it could potentially do more harm than good. I’ll let you fill in the blanks on how losing your only sister/ your oldest daughter on the day before Christmas impacts on a family. To a vicious senseless murder for money.
I will tell you the impact of this particular hearing and decision over the last several years has had and has the potential to have on me and my family.
When the men who murdered my sister in this cold blooded plot were sentenced to death, we were told there were two options in the State of AZ — Life with the possibility of parole in 25 years and Death which meant they would never get out of prison. Of course, no matter how we might have felt politically about the death penalty, we knew these were young men and would still be as violent and dangerous in 25 years, perhaps more so and the Death Penalty was the only sentence that insured the public’s and our safety from them forever. We were warned that in time, the tables would turn, the victim would be forgotten and the murderers would be seen as victims. Well that time has come, over 20 years after the loss of my sister. It’s still hard to fathom but it’s the absolute reality now.
I am here to remind the court who the true victim of this crime was, and still is. It was my sister Cindy who was my only sister, fourteen months older than me, whose life was taken for one motive: money. On the day before we were to fly home for Christmas on Christmas eve 1988. I was 29 years old and she was 30. We grew up together with each other to lean on as we lost our mother at a very young age. She was kind and truly an innocent and the defense in both trials could produce no evidence about her in a derogatory way — there simply was none. She was like a lamb to slaughter with the men who murdered her — Rudi and Michael Apelt.
The victim was not and still is not the man, Rudi Apelt, who is being resentenced today. The man who wielded the knife that slashed Cindy’s throat from ear to ear leaving her to be discovered by a young boy in the desert on Christmas Eve.. Rudi Apelt, who has served another prison sentence for a violent rape of another woman in Germany. Rudi Apelt who conned many women throughout the Phoenix area during the months prior to the murder of my sister for money, use of their car, a living situation in their home, procurement of goods, all of these actions performed ALONE and not in the presence of his brother or any other familiar person to him. All of these facts are clearly documented in the trial transcripts. He is a violent man, a repeat offender and took the life of my sister for money. I do not believe he demonstrates any signs of mental retardation in the commission of this crime–quite the contrary, in fact. Sophisticated, calculated and cold-blooded homicide are not adjectives I would ascribe to the mentally retarded.
I am here also to tell you the impact that just this one hearing lasting several years has had on my family. My 78-year-old father was required to testify and cancel a prepaid trip to China because the Court would not consider a 2-week postponement of the original hearing for this which he was required to testify at. This postponement was the one and only thing my family ever asked of this Court in the many YEARS leading up to this hearing and it was not granted. This was perhaps my father’s only opportunity to go to China for the rest of his lfe. Yet the defense in this case was granted delay after delay over a period of years causing me and my family to be inconvenienced, put plans on hold, prepare ourselves emotionally only to be told yet another delay for the defense for years upon years.
I opened my door one December day, 3 years go, ironically the same day I was planning to decorate my house for Christmas which you can imagine what a task that is for me year after year seeing my sister’s bloody body was discovered in the desert on Christmas Eve morning, only to find an advocate for Rudi Apelt misrepresenting herself to me and asking for my cooperation with this very issue–the mental retardation hearing. And this advocate bald-faced lied to me in my own home assuring me that this murderer, if reversed in sentence, would be resentenced to life WITHOUT parole. Yes of course she knew this was impossible due to sentencing guidelines yet chose to manipulate me in this way. What did I or my family ever do to deserve this kind of treatment? Laws have been changed now to disallow the abuse of victims in this manner in the State of AZ because of this heinous situation I endured.
My father and I endured sitting in a courtroom often being the only representatives on the side of the State while onlookers filled the side of the defendant hoping obviously to glean some kind of clues for arguing their murderer clients were also mentally retarded to avoid the ultimate penalty.
I have personally learned that in addition to the tides of sympathy swinging away from the murder victim to the murderer over the years that the “worst of the worst” in our society, once on Death Row, receive the “best of the best” when it comes to legal assistance. I am convinced that a death row inmate has a greater chance of being released from prison than a “lifer” serving a term for a nonviolent crime, simply because more people care about those on Death Row. The murderers also receive free websites which read like singles ads soliciting donations, penpals, wives and the like. When the “serial shooter” claimed to desire the death penalty in his sentencing hearing this year, I completely understood what was motivating him — and it most certainly wasn’t a possibility of execution.
My one consolation with this preposterous ruling/resentencing is that finally Rudi Apelt will receive what he deserves. Which is to be forgotten, finally. I have no doubt that those helping so fervently over the years will drop him like a hot potato once he no longer holds the prestige of Death Row status and he will fade in to the woodwork with all the other violent common criminals in the general population. Until of course we are asked to appear at parole hearings. Then we will be forced to remember him and his violence once again. When do we ever get to let this go? Do we?
Finally, I did not come all the way down here with any delusions that my words would have any true impact whatsoever on the outcome of this hearing. Biases have been shown throughout and I hold no fantasies that my family’s feelings and wishes will fall in to consideration. Yet let it be known, we all have a certain degree of terror at the thought of Rudi Apelt ever being released from prison due to a possible switch to concurrent sentences where he could have the possibility of actually being paroled. Yes that terrifies my family and me personally. This again is the man who took my sister in to the desert, and among other violent acts, slit her throat. Then enjoyed a celebratory meal with his co-murderer/conspirators at a restaurant using her credit card right after commiting the murder. Call it what you want, but I call that nothing but a DANGER TO SOCIETY. His sentences, at the very least, need to remain CONSECUTIVE to protect society from his violence. Call him mentally retarded, call him an imbecile, call him an idiot savant, whatever you wish. But call his behavior what it has been: VIOLENT and DANGEROUS.
The reason I did come though is in hopes that down the road, whatever decision is reached as a result of this resentencing hearing is REVIEWED by hopefully a non biased individual who has no political agenda at stake. Then that a sound decision will be made then that will prohibit this dangerous individual Rudi Apelt from ever being released from prison again. And to allow me and my family to finally move forward without ever having to worry about him again. And to hopefully get to begin to live a life where we get to focus on remembering my sister’s life and not her violent death.