Testimony in Munger murder trial focuses on pattern of distrust, confrontation

Michael Lowell Munger, 53, is charged with murdering Lynnie Ann Loucks, who was found dead in April 2022, north of Brainerd.

Crow Wing County Judicial Center
The Crow Wing County Judicial Center in Brainerd.
Brainerd Dispatch photo

BRAINERD — The former best friend of the Brainerd man accused of the murder of 43-year-old Lynnie Ann Loucks spoke about a confrontation which changed how he viewed his safety Thursday, April 27, in Crow Wing County District Court.

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.

When sheriff’s deputies arrived, 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 Ann Loucks and a baseball bat to strike her.

Continuing his testimony from Wednesday, Tim Otterness, Munger’s former friend, testified about the events leading up to Loucks’ death and of his relationship with Munger and Loucks.

Otterness said Munger was visibly “upset, angry, sad” after Loucks and Munger broke up the week of her murder. He told the jury Munger said he was afraid he was going to “snap” on her.


Crow Wing County Attorney Kelsey Hopps asked Otterness to explain what “snap” meant. Otterness said Munger told him “she’s gonna pay. … Answer to someone, someday.”

Otterness said Munger purchased binoculars and a GPS tracker, placing it on her vehicle to follow and observe her, as he believed she had been unfaithful. Otterness was then asked about an incident around the end of February 2022 where he went into his home to wash his hands.

In the kitchen with Loucks and making small talk while washing his hands, Otterness said he saw Munger on his hands and knees, peeking around the corner as he eavesdropped on the conversation. Otterness said he told Munger to come upstairs as he had nothing to hide. Munger came upstairs and the two began to argue when Munger told him he would “end him in his sleep.”

Once again Otterness stated , “what kind of person says that to their best friend.”

Later in his testimony, Otterness choked up as he said Munger was his first true guy friend and how devastated he was when Munger accused him of messing around with Loucks.

“When you put a screwdriver in your pocket, things are not going well,” Otterness said as he talked about being confronted by Munger a week before the murder and feeling the need to have something to “protect himself.”

Hopps asked Otterness if he would have ever done anything with Loucks to jeopardize his friendship with Munger.

“No,” Otterness said.


Monica Schneider, Loucks’ sister, also testified Thursday about the interactions she had with Munger when he and her sister came to visit. She said she told Munger to leave her home in Wisconsin after an argument.

Lindsey Winterfeld, Otterness’ girlfriend, testified about Munger’s “rocky relationship” with Loucks and about how she never felt comfortable being around him.

Munger’s supervisor at US Foods testified that the day before the murder she talked to him after he broke up with Loucks, saying he was “hysterically crying” as he talked about clearing bank accounts and starting over.

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Lawrence Karenget, another resident at the Smith Road house, testified about an interaction the week before the murder between himself and Munger.

Munger asked Karenget if he would betray him. When he asked Munger what he meant, Karenget was told, “I'm not going to allow her to get away with what she did to me.” After Munger told him Loucks would not be out having sex with anyone else, Karenget said he told Otterness about the interaction and how he was concerned about Loucks’ safety.

Investigator Brandon Henderson, with the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office, testified about serving the search warrant on Munger. Henderson said Munger was calm and cooperative as he collected the evidence and photographed him. He then opened an evidence bag, showing the jury Munger’s blood-stained boots, which he collected during the search.

Judge Kristine DeMay called for court to recess for the day around 4 p.m. Thursday. The trial is set to resume 9 a.m. Friday in Crow Wing County District Court.

TIM SPEIER, staff writer, can be reached on Twitter @timmy2thyme , call 218-855-5859 or email .

Tim Speier joined the Brainerd Dispatch in October 2021, covering Public Safety.
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