Suspect arraigned in 2001 Milford killing
Updated 11:28 pm, Wednesday, June 12, 2013
MILFORD -- A suspect in the 2001 homicide of a pregnant woman in her beach house here has been extradited and was arraigned Wednesday morning in state Superior Court on murder and felony murder charges.
Luis A Rodriguez had been formally charged in the killing of Kelsey Monahon in January 2011 while he was an inmate in a federal prison on unrelated weapons charges. Rodriguez was brought from the prison in El Reno, Okla., by U.S. marshals on Tuesday and turned over to Milford police detectives in New York.
Monahon, 28, was discovered unresponsive in her Shorefront Road home on May 25, 2001 and she died at Bridgeport Hospital three days later. Her death was ruled a homicide by the state medical examiner, who determined that she'd been strangled.
Milford police detectives and investigators from the Cold Case Unit of the office of the chief state's attorney conducted a lengthy probe and were able to get an arrest warrant for Rodriguez issued on Jan. 13, 2011.
Rodriguez, who is now 53, has a long criminal history but no obvious ties to Milford, police said. He was last arrested in Connecticut in 1989 on robbery, burglary and weapons charges, for which he was convicted and served time in prison.
State's Attorney Kevin Lawlor and Milford Police Chief Keith Mello said at a 2011 news conference that although Rodriguez did not have a local address on May 25, 2001, evidence developed by police and the cold-case unit places him in Milford on that day, when Monahon was bound and strangled in the course of an apparent burglary.
"This was not random,'' said Mello, who was the Milford police captain in charge of the detective bureau when the crime was committed.
Police apparently believed early in their investigation that the killer was a Hispanic male. People stopped at a police checkpoint at the beach over that Memorial Day weekend were asked if they'd seen a person fitting that description.
Kelsey Monahon, who was pregnant, had been hog-tied and her home ransacked. There was no evidence of sexual assault, officials said. The victim's husband found her on the floor, unconscious, at 7:40 p.m. and began giving his wife cardiopulmonary resuscitation while he called 911.
Rodriguez faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole if he is convicted.
The felony murder charge is lodged because the murder was committed in the course of another crime, the burglary and robbery, law enforcement officials said.