A man made dramatic statements Wednesday morning after requesting to represent himself in court.
“I know I did my crime and I know I’ll do my time … but as long as they’re out there, my kids aren’t safe,” said Jason Otis Monroe, 32, inside a Fremont Hall of Justice courtroom shortly after 11:35 a.m.
It was not clear who “they” were in Monroe's utterance.
“My kids are caught in the middle of something horrific,” he said. “For all I care, I can get the death penalty. It’s about the kids.”
Monroe also asked that he be allowed to represent himself in court. He is currently being represented by public defender Kristen McCannon.
Monroe is scheduled to return to court Friday at 9 a.m. where a judge will decide whether he can represent himself.
Deputy District Attorney Andrew Ross said it was “very unusual” that a homicide suspect would want to represent himself.
On Monday, Monroe was ordered to undergo a mental evaluation report, which was received by Alameda Superior Court Judge Dennis McLaughlin on Wednesday. The details of the evaluation have not yet been disclosed, Ross said.
If the court finds Monroe incompetent, he will not be able to represent himself, Ross said.
Monroe was arrested by Newark police on April 27 on suspicion of murder after Evangeline Supena Contillo, 25, was found dead of apparent stab wounds in a home on the 36600 block of Cherry Street.
Monroe was found in front of the residence with his clothes and hands bloodied, according to Commander Bob Douglas of the .
Neither Contillo's cause of death nor a possible motive have been released by authorities.
“At this point we would be speculating” about a motive, Ross said.
Monroe is believed to have lived with Contillo, their two children and his mother at the home, according to the district attorney’s office. Though the Contillo and Monroe were not married, they had been dating for several years, relatives said.
At the time of the incident, , stemming from a Feb. 25 domestic battery case.
Monroe was previously arrested and convicted on Feb. 28 on charges of misdemeanor battery, assault and corporal injury to a spouse or cohabitant.
Contillo was the victim of the assault and corporal injury charges, according to the district attorney’s office. The office would not release the identity of the battery victim.
Carolyn Rodriguez, Contillo’s cousin, attended court Wednesday on behalf of her family. She began crying when Monroe entered the room.
“I saw the red shirt and I just saw the devil,” she said. Monroe was wearing a red jumpsuit when he appeared in court.
Rodriguez described her cousin as a “beautiful person.”
“She was a respectful child. She was always helpful. She would babysit and fix my daughter’s hair when we lived with her,” said Rodriguez, who is 17 years older than Contillo.
Danny Timmons, a cousin of Monroe’s mother, also attended court Wednesday to show his respect and appreciation for Contillo. Contillo was a caregiver who helped take care of his mother when she suffered a hip injury, he said.
“She was a true sweetheart,” Timmons said.
A memorial page in Contillo's name has been created on Facebook. Comments left on the page depict a woman well-known for her love of her two sons.
One friend wrote, "May you rest in paradise. Your babies will live on for you and I'm sure your family/friends will always remind them how much of a wonderful mother you were."
A viewing for Contillo was scheduled for 3 p.m. Wednesday in Oakland with funeral services on Thursday morning, May 5, also in Oakland, where her immediate family resides.
Monroe said in court Monday that he was on a number of antipsychotic medications. Timmons could not confirm Monroe’s mental state, though he said that Monroe may be bi-polar. “But that’s no excuse,” Timmons said.
Monroe is being held without bail at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin.
Newark Patch editor Nika Megino contributed to this report.