Years after slaying and still no rest - thanks to court
Laurie Roberts, Arizona Republic
Early on after his daughter was murdered, Jack Monkman decided he had to get
on with his life. Cindy, he says, would have wanted it that way.
Now, 18 years after Cindy Monkman's death, Judge Silvia Arellano of the
Maricopa County Superior Court has scheduled yet another hearing in the
killers' appeal, this one to determine whether the brothers who killed her
are mentally retarded. The hearing - easily the most important one in Rudi
and Michael Apelt's efforts to avoid execution - comes smack in the middle
of Monkman's long-planned trip overseas.
Yet the judge has twice refused to delay the hearing. Apparently, it
wouldn't be fair to the killers to postpone because they have witnesses
coming in from Germany. Never mind fairness to the victim's family, whose
trip was planned three months before the hearing date was even set.
The judge's refusal to postpone even for two weeks has angered the Monkmans,
who have endured 18 years of court dates and never once requested a delay.
They wonder whether they'll ever be free to get on with their lives.
"They try to beat you down so you'll just say, 'Screw it, take them off
death row and give them life without parole,' " said Kathy Monkman, Cindy's
sister. "But in our case, it would be life with parole. . . . They could be
up for parole in less than five years. Then we're involved in that whole
process - parole hearings."
Cindy had just turned 30 when she met the Apelt brothers in September 1988.
They were handsome and she was vulnerable, having just broken up with her
boyfriend. The brothers posed as rich German aristocrats, convincing
bankers, luxury-car dealers and real estate agents that they were flush.
Michael and Cindy married on Oct. 28, 1988, and within days, he persuaded
her to take out $400,000 in life insurance.
On Dec. 23, the day after the policy was delivered, the brothers took Cindy
into the desert, stabbed her five times and slashed her throat. Then they
used her credit card to buy dinner. Cindy's body was found on Christmas Eve,
her husband's bloody footprint on her face.
In 1991, the Apelts were sentenced to die. They've been fighting it ever
since. Their latest angle: They're mentally retarded and so can't be put to
I, for one, can't wait to hear Team Apelt explain how two mentally retarded
brothers learned English and racked up a resume that includes insurance
fraud, theft and burglary.
I'm sure Jack Monkman, a retired psychologist, would like to hear it, too.
He booked his trip to China in September, after the Apelts' hearing had been
put off yet again.
In December, Arellano set a new date, April 30, but the victim advocate
assigned to Monkman was never notified. When Monkman found out about it in
February, he immediately sought a delay but Arellano refused to change it.
"This," she wrote, "is a complex case that involves numerous expert
witnesses as well as witnesses from outside the United States."
The Crime Victim's Legal Assistance Project has gone to the Court of
Appeals, hoping to get the hearing postponed. Naturally, the attorneys for
the Apelts are fighting it, with one calling Monkman's request
I agree. It is extraordinary. That after 18 years, this family is still
being dragged to hearings, still serving their own sentence of sorts. Jack
is 76 now. Surely, he's earned a vacation and yet apparently not. His
rights, it seems, are eternally trumped - at least in the eyes of that
system we laughingly call justice.
"The whole event," he told me, "is a lifelong continual matter of dealing
Source : Arizona Republic