Jury selection underway in Munger murder trial
Michael Lowell Munger, 53, is charged with murdering Lynnie Ann Loucks who was found dead in April 2022, north of Brainerd.
BRAINERD — Jury selection started Monday, April 24, in the trial of a Brainerd man accused of the murder of 43-year-old Lynnie Ann Loucks.
Michael Lowell Munger, 53, is charged with murdering Loucks. She was found dead in April 2022 at a residence she shared with Munger on Smith Road, near Legionville Road, in Unorganized Territory north of Brainerd.
Munger, who is self-represented, and his court-appointed advisor, Malcolm Whynott, appeared before Judge Kristine DeMay. Assistant Crow Wing County Attorney Janine LePage and Kelsey Hopps were seated to argue for the state.
A total of 12 jurors, including alternates, will be selected for the trial, which is expected to last two to three weeks in Crow Wing County District Court.
Munger was arrested at the residence and arraigned April 29, 2022, on charges of second-degree murder with intent but without premeditation and second-degree murder without intent but while committing a felony in connection with Loucks’ death. In July 2022, a Crow Wing County grand jury indicted Munger with first-degree murder.
The first-degree murder charge carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
According to the criminal complaint, a man requested a welfare check in April of 2022 at the residence for his ex-wife, Loucks, after Munger messaged him that his ex-wife was “gone.”
When sheriff’s deputies arrived, they found Munger in the driveway of the residence with blood on his body and clothing. He told deputies something to the effect of, “You’re too late, she’s gone,” according to the criminal complaint.
Loucks was located dead inside a basement bedroom in the house.
In a statement to law enforcement after he was arrested, Munger said he and Loucks, with whom he had been in a relationship for the past year, got into an argument about infidelity.
Munger’s criminal history includes several instances of domestic abuse in both Minnesota and Washington. According to court records:
- On June 14, 2011, Munger pleaded guilty to a gross misdemeanor domestic violence offense in the state of Washington.
- On July 9, 2015, Breezy Point police officers responded to a domestic dispute involving Munger and a woman. Afterward, the victim filed a harassment restraining order against Munger. On July 15, 2015, Munger called her work and said, "I don't care about your restraining order. I'm going to kill you." He then repeated, "I'm going to kill you" and hung up the phone.The call came from a cellphone listed to the defendant's sister who lives in Bellevue, Washington.In the criminal complaint filed against Munger, it stated “a suspicious male was observed in the area of the defendant's residence but ran away when he was seen by … (a) child. After the male ran away, it was discovered that a can full of gasoline had been left at (her) residence. It is believed that the person who left the gas can is the defendant.”On Dec. 10, 2015, Munger was convicted of felony terroristic threats with reckless disregard for the risk of causing terror in another person. He served a year in the St. Cloud prison for the crime.
- On Oct. 3, 2015, the Breezy Point and Pequot Lakes police departments were looking for Munger in regards to a possible order for protection violation.After attempting to evade officers, Munger denied violating the order for protection but said the protected party should know better than to "poke a bear” and the protected party was "going to bring this on herself."During questioning, Munger seemed angered by the officer’s questions, according to the criminal complaint, and said he was going to have to "look you up," referring to the officer. He also asked the officer if he had a wife and kids and said, "We should meet sometime when you're off duty."A charge for gross misdemeanor stalking arising from this incident was later dropped.
- On May 1, 2016, the Crosslake Police Department received a report of a possible order for protection violation in Crosslake. According to the criminal complaint, a protected party received a friend request on Facebook from Munger.On Sept. 25, 2016, Munger was convicted of felony violating an order of protection.
TIM SPEIER, staff writer, can be reached on Twitter @timmy2thyme , call 218-855-5859 or email email@example.com .