Homicide suspect Monroe receives 45 year prison sentence
In the wake of a sentence handed down by Judge Jay Tlusty Thursday afternoon, a 22-year-old Merrill man will spend nearly the next 50 years in the state of Wisconsin correctional system.
As part of a plea agreement reached in November, Tyler Monroe pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of 2nd Degree Intentional Homicide as a repeater, in connection with the death of his father, Kevin Monroe in January of 2016.
Monroe’s sentence entails 25 years of initial confinement and 20 years of extended supervision. Tlusty awarded Monroe 1,051 days of time already served, due to incarceration since his arrest on Jan. 13, 2016.
Additional felony charges of Hiding a Corpse, Take and Drive Vehicle without Consent, two charges of Convicted Felon in Possession of a Firearm and two charges of Felony-Bail Jumping were dismissed, but read-in for sentencing purposes Thursday afternoon.
Monroe was initially charged in February of 2016 with 1st Degree Intentional Homicide; Hiding a Corpse; Take and Drive Vehicle without Consent; two charges of Convicted Felon in Possession of a Firearm and two charges of Felony-Bail Jumping, after being taken into custody in the apparent stabbing death of his father, 55-year-old Kevin Monroe.
According to court records, an autopsy performed Jan. 13 at the University of Wisconsin Hospitals in Madison, ruled Kevin Monroe’s cause of death to be the result of “sharp force homicide” caused by 26 stab wounds, including four fatal wounds to the liver, three fatal wounds to the right lung and multiple other wounds to the face, neck, torso, shoulder, thigh and shin.
According to a criminal complaint filed by the Merrill Police Department, with the office of Lincoln County District Attorney Galen Bayne-Allison, Kevin Monroe’s body was discovered by a friend on the floor of his bedroom in an apartment he shared with Tyler.
The reporting party who found Monroe’s body indicated he and other family members had become suspicious of Tyler Monroe’s responses to inquiries regarding his father’s absence and whereabouts. The reporting party indicated difficulty in opening Monroe’s bedroom door and Tyler Monroe becoming agitated when the reporting party attempted to enter, reportedly advising the reporting party “My dad will be real mad if you go in there.”
Tyler Monroe had reportedly continued to reside at the apartment during the period of his father’s sudden absence, from early January until the day his father was discovered. At one point, the reporting party “shouldered” the door to gain entry, causing it to fall open and leading to the discovery of Kevin Monroe’s body on the floor, covered with a sheet. The reporting party indicated to investigators that the door appeared to have been glued shut.
However, during testimony at Monroe’s preliminary hearing in July of last year, Merrill Police Department Lieutenant Detective Pat Wunsch indicated the door had indeed been locked. Inside the bedroom, a window had been left open and an oscillating fan placed near Monroe’s body. The temperature in the bedroom was reportedly below zero.
During further testimony by Wunsch, he indicated the homicide investigation revealed the stabbing had occurred in the kitchen of the apartment. Investigators came to that conclusion after a Luminol test. As Wunch described, Luminol is a chemical which binds itself to amino acids contained in blood, and upon dimming the lighting to an area where Luminol has been sprayed; an area containing blood residue will appear as a fluorescent blue color, even after being cleaned or wiped away. Wunsch indicated the test revealed more blood spatter in the kitchen than any other area in the residence. Kevin Monroe’s body was then moved through the living room of the residence using two area rugs, to the floor of his bedroom where he was eventually found. Family and friends of Monroe reported the rugs had normally been used in the kitchen.
The individual who found Kevin Monroe’s body indicated having last seen Kevin on Jan. 3, 2016, after arriving at Monroe’s residence to have dinner with him. Wunsch indicated Kevin Monroe’s debit card had been actively used through the morning of Jan. 4, but activity abruptly stopped as of the afternoon of Jan. 4. A work associate of Kevin Monroe’s indicated Monroe was due to be back at work on Jan. 4 but did not show up. When he sent Monroe a text message later that night to ask Kevin if he planned on coming in to work, the response of “No, I’m not coming into work. Leave me alone and do not contact me any more,” was reportedly given via text message, from Kevin Monroe’s phone. A neighbor of the Monroes reported overhearing what appeared to be a physical altercation on Jan. 4, followed by frequent entry and exiting of the residence by Tyler. In the days following, a very strong odor of cleaning chemicals was near intolerable according to the neighbor.
At 5 p.m. on the evening of Jan. 12, a motorist traveling northbound on STH 107 reported observing Kevin Monroe’s car veer off STH 107 near Tug Lake Road and go into the ditch. Tyler Monroe was reportedly observed exiting the vehicle and removing a pair of blue latex gloves which he was wearing. At 5:06 p.m. a Lincoln County Sheriff’s deputy investigated the area where the car was located and discovered a duffel bag. Deputies and officers from the Merrill Police Department followed Tyler Monroe’s snow footprints until 10:30 p.m., when the search proved unsuccessful. At 11:04 p.m., officers of the Merrill Police Department responded to a report of a suspicious male walking in the area of the search. When officers arrived, a Lincoln County Sheriff’s deputy had Monroe at gun-point. Monroe was subsequently taken into custody.