American Monster is highlighting the murder of Cindy Monkman by her husband, Michael Apelt, and his brother, Rudi Apelt.
In 1988, Michael and Rudi left their home in west Germany and moved to the United States, where they took on the persona of rich international businessmen.
Michael and Rudi’s goal in America was reportedly to get money by conning women and eventually marrying someone to collect their life insurance money.
That plan came to fruition when Michael met 30-year-old Cindy Monkman at Bobby McGhee’s restaurant in Pinal County, Arizona.
On October 28, 1988, they got married in Las Vegas, Nevada. Several weeks later, Michael took out a $400,000 life insurance policy on her.
When it was approved on December 22, 1988, Monkman went missing.
Cindy Monkman is found murdered in the desert
On December 24, 1988, Michael contacted the local police department and reported his wife missing. Later that day, a passerby found her body in a desert near Apache Junction.
An autopsy revealed that Monkman had been stabbed multiple times and that her throat had been slit.
She was nearly decapitated.
Investigators became suspicious of Michael after learning about the life insurance policy. That’s when undercover police officers began following the brothers, including Michael’s ex-girlfriend named Anke Dorn.
When they realized they were being followed, they contacted the police and later went to the precinct for questioning.
During their interview with Dorn, she told investigators that Michael and Rudi plotted to kill Monkman after the life insurance policy went through.
Michael and Rudi conspired to kill Cindy Monkman
On December 23, 1988, Michael took his wife to a desert. Rudi and Dorn followed behind them in a separate vehicle. Once they arrived at that location, Dorn said Michael and Rudi had killed Monkman.
Afterward, they went shopping and later paid a homeless man to leave a message on Monkman’s answering machine and admit to the killing. He was also told to say that the brothers were next.
Dorn added that after Monkman’s funeral, Michael told her that she had “signed her death warrant when she signed the insurance papers.”
In exchange for Dorn’s confession and testimony, she was given immunity.
A jury found Michael guilty of first-degree murder, and on August 10, 1990, a judge sentenced him to death.
Rudi was also sentenced to death.
In 2009, his death sentence was overturned after it was deemed he was mentally disabled. He was later sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years.
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