Store Clerk Murderer Walks Among Us | News

On Tuesday, January 8, 1991, the Associated Press reported that police feared someone had kidnapped a Covington woman.

The report said, “St. Tammany Parish deputies plan to search again today for a convenience store clerk who was kidnapped in a robbery. The night she disappeared, Jerry C. Monus, 56, was working night shifts at the Jr. Food Mart 60 miles north of New Orleans.

Dorothy Walker, the store’s day manager, arrived at 5 a.m. on Monday morning to find Jerry Monus, the store’s safe and the cash register missing. The night clerk had left her purse in the store, her van parked outside and the food cooking in an electric oven.

The next day, the news turned grimmer.

United Press International reported, “Police found the body of a convenience store clerk abducted during a robbery in the Bogue Chitto River on Tuesday, according to a spokesperson for the St. Tammany Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies found Jerry’s body in nearby Washington Parish near Enon, 20 miles northeast of Folsom, near the junction of Louisiana Interstates 25 and 40.

The Associated Press reported, “The Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office received a call Tuesday from hunters who found a bloody bone on the south side of the river,” Sheriff’s Department Official Larry Ciko said. Washington Parish deputies searching the nearby woods found jeans and underwear identified as belonging to the missing woman.

Called to the scene, St. Tammany search and rescue officers found the body 200 yards downstream at 10:52 a.m. Wednesday morning. They found the body stuck to a log, partly naked, with only a sweater wrapped around its throat.

Before throwing Jerry off a bridge, his killer covered his mouth and eyes with gray duct tape. The monster used a small rope to tie its hands and ankles together behind its back, just before firing a shotgun into the back of its skull. The bone found by the hunters was a fragment of a skull.

An autopsy conducted by the Coroner of St. Tammany the following weekend sought to determine the time of death and whether the monster had raped Jerry before murdering him.

The Jr. Food Mart Corporation offered a $5,000 reward for Monday Jerry’s disappearance. They raised it to $10,000 after police found his body, and $15,000 the following year.

Detectives weren’t sure if the thieves broke into the store or if Jerry opened the door and let them in. A back door appeared to be broken and police believed the store was normally closed for restocking every morning between 2am and 4am. The police suspected the theft. occurred between these hours. Unfortunately, future customers of the store saw a dozen pick-ups and vans at the store during this time.

The thieves dragged a 400-pound safe, containing $8,000, through the back door, leading investigators from St. Tammany and Washington Parishes to initially believe three strong men stole the safe . Later, the FBI identified tire tracks from a cart used to move the tin box.

A week after Jerry disappeared, St. Tammany Parish Coroner Ted Brzustowicz said an autopsy showed a high-powered rifle, not a shotgun, created the wound in his chest. back of Jerry’s head. He said he couldn’t determine if someone had raped her.

Larry Ciko told a television crew: “We have possible suspects in other cases, but we don’t know if Miss Monus knew her captors or if they killed her because they thought she was them. had seen or knew something. Perhaps they were regular customers of the store. We just don’t know.

He said authorities believe someone kidnapped Jerry, planning to force her into the safe, and then killed her so she couldn’t identify her captors.

St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Patrick Canulette said the safe theft was one of about 12 in the previous three weeks involving convenience stores in his parish. He said there had been about 100 similar convenience store robberies during the same period in New Orleans, but the Folsom case was the first in southern Louisiana involving a kidnapping and murder.

“Whoever did this,” Sheriff Canulette said, “is a brutal, brutal group of individuals. This is a horrific crime. This is the most brutal and heinous murder I have ever seen. have seen in my 11 years as a sheriff and 20 years in law enforcement.

Two weeks later, investigators hoping for a break in the case began extensively interviewing members of Jerry’s family, focusing primarily on her husband.

St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Detectives and FBI agents interviewed John Monus for several days. The sheriff told reporters that investigators interviewed the husband, an employee of the ITT-Hartford insurance company in New Orleans, “in the hope that he can give us something that might suggest who is responsible. of this horrible crime”.

But the sheriff declined to say whether investigators consider John Monus a suspect.

“We are looking for a lot of information. We received an overwhelming number of phone calls from people with potential leads. We’re all following them, hoping they lead somewhere,” Sheriff Canulette said.

“We talk intensely not only with the husband, but also with other family members. The FBI is trying to develop a profile of potential suspects, and we’re helping whatever we can.

Seven years later, Sheriff Canulette left office, replaced by Sheriff Jack Strain, who swore in the election to make an arrest in the Jerry Monus case. In January 1998, his office charged Wayne Fussell, 42, of Franklinton, with the murder of Jerry.

Fussell had gone to prison in 1992 for the rape of a woman in Amite. However, according to the grand jury that released him, the sheriff’s office provided no evidence to suggest he killed Jerry Monus.

Two decades later, Jerry Monus’ murderer is still free.

“Bayou Justice” is a weekly true-crime column featuring notable crime-related stories in South Louisiana, most of which are still unsolved. If you have information that can help solve the case, contact Crime Stoppers or your local police department. HL Arledge can be contacted at [email protected]