A Newark man charged with the stabbing death of his girlfriend pleaded not guilty in court Friday morning.
Jason Otis Monroe, 33, was silent as Deputy Public Defender Sam Yun entered the plea of not guilty on Monroe’s behalf at the Fremont Hall of Justice in front of Judge Dennis McLaughlin.
Deputy District Attorney Lindsay Walsh was present representing the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.
It was Monroe’s eighth court appearance since Newark police officers arrested him in front of his home on Cherry Street in April in the killing of Evangeline Supena Contillo, who police said died of apparent stab wounds.
On Friday Contillo’s mother, Josephine Contillo, and cousin sat quietly in the third row of the courtroom, tissues on hand. Danny Timmons, a cousin of Monroe’s mother, sat next to them.
“Did you hear that? Not guilty,” said Carolyn Rodriguez, Contillo’s cousin, to Timmons and Josephine Contillo as Monroe’s brief court appearance ended.
Monroe is to appear at the Fremont Hall of Justice on Jan. 20 for further hearings.
Newark Police arrested Monroe after responding to the 36000 block of Cherry Street at 11:31 a.m on April 27 to a report of a fight and immediately found Monroe outside the one-story home with his clothes and hands covered in blood, according to a press release.
Contillo’s body was found inside the home where Contillo and Monroe lived with their two sons and Monroe’s mother. Neighbor Angie Contreras said she found the victim face down in a bedroom of the home.
During his earlier court appearances, Monroe made dramatic statements in which he claimed his children were “caught in the middle of something horrific.”
During an arraignment on May, 2 was made by Judge McLaughlin after Monroe stated he had been taking a variety of antipsychotic drugs, naming Geodon and Abilify as previous medications. Both are used to treat symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information government website.
Monroe also previously requested to represent himself in his first court appearances on April 29 and May 5, when Deputy Public Defender Kristen McCannon was assigned as his attorney. At that time, he also asked to speak with Deputy District Attorney Andrew Ross about taking a polygraph test and the whereabouts of his children.
“And it’s not about me. For all I care, I can get the death penalty. It’s about the kids. And I really want a polygraph,” Monroe said, according to a transcript of his May 4 appearance.
Monroe on May 6, and Lew appeared with Monroe as his new attorney on June 23. Yun, who represents Monroe now, first appeared with Monroe on Sept. 1.
At the time of the April 27 homicide, Contillo had a restraining order in effect against Monroe, 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.
Monroe is being held without bail at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin.