Munger trial focuses on jail interview
Michael Lowell Munger, 53, is charged with murdering Lynnie Ann Loucks, who was found dead in April 2022, north of Brainerd.
BRAINERD — Only sleeping for a few hours leading up to the murder, Michael Lowell Munger said he spent most of the night in a rocking chair staring out the window.
Munger, 53, is on trial charged with murdering Lynnie Ann Loucks, 43. She was found dead April 28, 2022, at a residence she shared with Munger on Smith Road north of Brainerd.
When asked what happened leading up to the murder, Munger said he put a spare bed down for Lynnie Loucks in the room adjacent to his bedroom the night of April 27, 2022, as they had just broken up.
During a law enforcement interview on the morning of April 28, Munger said he told Lynnie Loucks, “‘I loved you Lynnie,’ and then it transpired … what happened, happened between Lynnie and I.”
The trial, in its fourth day, resumed Monday, May 1, in Crow Wing County District Court with Chad Kleffman, a special agent with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and former Brainerd Police Department lieutenant, testifying. Kleffman interviewed Munger in jail about seven hours after he was arrested.
Assistant Crow Wing County attorney Kelsey Hopps played the one hour, 29 minute redacted interview for the jury. Hopps asked Kleffman if Munger showed any remorse or sadness during the interview.
“No tears or sadness,” Kleffman said.
On cross examination, Munger, who is representing himself, asked Kleffman if he apologized at the end of the interview.
“Yes. Yes you did,” Kleffman said.
During the interview, Munger can be heard telling Kleffman that Lynnie Loucks and Dennis Loucks, her husband, made him feel as though they had an “uncomfortable relationship.”
Munger can be heard saying he, “found some things on her phone and saw some things in the house.”
When asked if he thought she was cheating on him, Munger said, “I believe so.”
In previous testimony on Thursday , April 27, Tim Otterness, owner of the house on Smith Road and Munger’s former best friend, said he was devastated when Munger accused him of messing around with Lynnie Loucks.
Growing concerned over the time Otterness and Lynnie Loucks spent together, Munger can be heard on the interview with Kleffman saying he was able to pick out similar words from the stories Otterness and Lynnie Loucks would tell him.
Assistant Ramsey County medical examiner Dr. Victor Froloff testified as to the cause and manner of Lynnie Loucks’ death.
Froloff testified her death was caused by ligature strangulation and a traumatic brain injury due to physical assault. The manner of death was homicide. Froloff made note of the extensive amount of petechial hemorrhages on Lynnie Loucks’ face.
Petechial hemorrhages are pinpoint ruptures of the capillaries from blood being carried up to a person's head without having the ability to leave. Froloff said Lynnie Louck’s heart was beating as she was being strangled.
When sheriff’s deputies arrived that morning in 2022, they reported finding Munger in the driveway of the residence with blood on his body and clothing. The victim was located inside a basement bedroom in the house lying on the ground in a pool of blood with a belt around her neck. Munger told law enforcement officers he “did what he did” and used a belt to strangle Lynnie Loucks and a baseball bat to strike her.
Judge Kristine DeMay recessed court for the day around 5 p.m. Monday. The trial is set to resume 10 a.m. Tuesday in Crow Wing County District Court.
TIM SPEIER, staff writer, can be reached on Twitter @timmy2thyme , call 218-855-5859 or email email@example.com .