Tearful, Belinda Monroe sat in a Fremont Hall of Justice witness stand Monday afternoon and recounted the day she found her son’s girlfriend dead inside of the three-bedroom Newark home they all once lived in.
She described how she was cleaning her car outside of the home – with her two grandchildren playing nearby – on April 27 of last year when she heard her dogs barking and went inside of the home.
As she was walking in, she said her son, Jason Otis Monroe, 33, of Newark, came outside – with blood splatted on his T-shirt.
“I said, ‘Oh my God, what did you do?’” Belinda Monroe said.
Jason Monroe was arrested shortly after 11:30 a.m. that day and has been charged with murder for the stabbing death of Evangeline Supena Contillo, his girlfriend of eight years. He to that charge on Nov. 4.
On Monday, the court held the first of three scheduled days of preliminary examination, a process that aids a judge to decide whether there is sufficient evidence to move a case into trial.
After seeing her son covered in blood that Wednesday morning last year, Belinda Monroe said she rushed into the bedroom her son and Contillo lived in with their two sons. She found Contillo “laying on the floor by the closet.” She also confirmed that before the incident only her son and Contillo were inside of the home.
“She was just laying there on her stomach,” said Belinda Monroe, choking back tears.
"I screamed and said, ‘Oh my God, I’m going to call 9-1-1. Hold on, Evangeline. I’m going to call 9-1-1,” she continued as her son sat in front of her, shackled everywhere except his right hand.
When medical personnel arrived, Contillo, then 25, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Newark Police Det. Dan Anderson, who also provided statements during the preliminary examination Monday afternoon.
“Molesters Are My Enemy” Suspect Says
Belinda Monroe said the day Contillo died, she had planned to accompany Contillo and her grandchildren, then ages 3 and 5, to the because her son asked her to.
But when Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Autrey B. James asked why Jason Monroe asked her to go with Contillo, she was abruptly disrupted.
Dressed in a prison-issued red jumpsuit with a green undershirt, Jason Monroe stood up and yelled out allegations of molestation and threatened the entire courtroom.
“Why? Because he’s a f------ molester,” he yelled out. “I’ll kill all of you, mother f-----!”
He continued on to blurt out a racial slur toward the district attorney as he was escorted out by bailiffs.
Jason Monroe apologized to the district attorney after returning – fully shackled – from a brief recess called by Superior Court Judge Dennis J. McLaughlin and said he had one thing to say.
“You are not the enemy. The molesters are my enemy,” Jason Monroe told the district attorney.
Molestation allegations continued to be a focus throughout the rest of the afternoon, which lasted more than two hours.
While being questioned by James and Alameda County Public Defender Sam Yun, Belinda Monroe stated that her son believed numerous individuals were molesting his young sons.
The people Belinda Monroe said her son believed were molesting his sons included a Newark police officer, relatives of Contillo, a distant relative of the Monroe family and Contillo.
The Newark Library is located within walking distance to the city’s police station.
“One time he said he didn’t even know if he could trust that I wasn’t molesting the kids,” Belinda Monroe said.
Belinda Monroe said her son’s oldest child told her one of Contillo’s relatives had touched him inappropriately after Jason Monroe said the young boy had something to tell her. She said she didn’t want to believe it at first, but then cried and reported it to authorities after she saw that her son was apparently distraught over the thought of his son being molested.
Later in the afternoon, Anderson, who was the primary investigator of the April 2011 homicide, said both Newark and Oakland police departments investigated the molestation allegations and that the claims were unfounded. Contillo’s relatives are from Oakland.
The Crime Scene
After finding Contillo face down on a bedroom floor, Belinda Monroe said she went outside to find her son lying in the middle of the road in front of their home on the 36600 block of Cherry Street.
When asked what she thought about it, she said, “Just… ‘What did you do?’”
Officers then arrived, arrested her son and placed him in the back of a patrol car. Belinda Monroe allowed them to search the one-story home, which she had lived in for approximately 30 years, Belinda Monroe said.
When Anderson arrived on scene, he said Jason Monroe was already handcuffed in the back of a patrol car and that he went into the Monroe home and found Contillo dead, facing down on a hardwood floor in a pool of blood, and saw apparent stab wounds along her spinal cord, arm and neck.
Anderson also said he observed a 6-inch to 8-inch knife with a silver blade and faux wood handle covered in a large amount of blood lying to the left of Contillo.
When presented with a photo of a knife filed with the court as evidence, Anderson identified it as the knife he saw on that bedroom floor.
Belinda Monroe said she found a similar knife inside of the home’s bedroom approximately two weeks before the killing and that she gave it to Contillo, who then gave it to Jason Monroe. She refused to say whether it was the exact same knife.
She stated her son said he obtained the knife to use it when the family goes hiking and fishing.
While evaluating the crime scene, Anderson said he overheard Jason Monroe yelling inside of the patrol car. He described the suspect’s demeanor as wavering between agitation and extreme calm but that most of his rants centered on talks about the aforementioned molestation allegations.
The detective also confirmed that Monroe seemed to direct the molestation allegations against a police officer who was on the scene that morning.
Jason Monroe’s up-and-down behavior continued inside of the patrol car and at the Newark Police Department station where he was questioned for an hour, said Anderson. Anderson added that video surveillance from the patrol car captured Monroe singing and talking to himself at times.
Anderson also said that Jason Monroe told another police officer at the station that he killed Contillo because of the alleged molestations of his sons.
“Sometimes he was calm and cooperative, then agitated,” Anderson said of Jason Monroe’s behavior while being questioned. He added that the suspect would raise his voice, get “very angry” and even slammed his hands down on the interview table while being questioned.
Anderson said that the suspect seemed to focus more on the molestation allegations rather than the events of that April morning while he was being questioned at the police station.
He also confirmed that Jason Monroe stated he was bipolar.
Paranoia and New Medications
Belinda Monroe said while her son and Contillo “loved each other very, very much,” the two had their share of ups and downs. She said she never saw it result in violence but that her son can be “very loud and wants you to listen to him.”
She also said her son is a difficult person to live with.
“Because of his paranoia. He didn’t really trust [people] and sometimes, I’d be the one he wouldn’t trust,” Belinda Monroe said.
The woman said at the time of the killing, both she and Contillo had restraining orders against her son that stemmed from a prior incident in which she and Monroe were arguing when Contillo stepped in to ask him to leave his mom alone.
That’s when Belinda Monroe said she saw her son grab Contillo and put her against a wall, and then ran out.
show that the stay-away order Contillo had against the suspect stemmed from a report of domestic battery on Feb. 25.
But her son’s paranoia was not something new, said Belinda Monroe, who added it began eight to nine years ago.
She said her son thought people were watching him and taking pictures of him. She said he made her tape up a crack between the home’s front window and wall and that she and Contillo could not go shopping because he seemed fearful that people would know where they were.
Because of this, Belinda Monroe said she took her son to see a doctor.
In an earlier court appearance, Jason Monroe told the court that , including Geodon and Abiliify. Both medicines are used to treat symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information government website.
Anderson said at the time of his arrest, Jason Monroe noted he had been taking medication that was “fairly new.” Belinda Monroe said her son began taking new medication when he was released from the February incident.
Anderson also confirmed that Jason Monroe asked to see a psychologist and doctor and requested to be transported to at the time of his arrest.
John George is a psychiatric hospital associated with Alameda County Medical Center. One of Jason Monroe’s preliminary hearings was delayed because he was in custody at the psychiatric facility.
The detective also said that Monroe admitted to stabbing Contillo when he was questioned at the police station.
Jason Monroe told Anderson that he “lost it” and had “gone crazy” then pulled a knife from his sweater pocket and “stabbed and slashed” her but did not recall how many times.
When asked if Jason Monroe demonstrated how he stabbed the victim, Anderson described the demonstration as a “simplistic type of motion” that was not consistent with Contillo’s injuries.
As Monday’s preliminary examination ended and his family began exiting, Jason Monroe said he loved them.
“I’m innocent,” he exclaimed.
Jason Monroe is expected to appear in court for a second day of preliminary examination at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Fremont Hall of Justice.