D.A.: 'Other potential suspects' in slaying of Rose Parade worker
Los Angeles County sheriff's officials said they are disappointed with the decision not to file charges against a former Tournament of Roses official accused in the 2004 cold-case slaying of a fellow volunteer, but they plan to continue their investigation.
Authorities said Richard Allan Munnecke, 71, remains a "person of interest" in the death of Donna Lee Kelly, 59, whose body was found in the trunk of her car 11 days after she was reported missing in April 2004.
"The appeal our investigators presented is not going to be filed for consideration," said Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Nicole Nishida. "The case is still ongoing ... they're still going to try to get the suspect and close the case because that's ultimately the goal."
The paperwork from the Los Angeles County district attorney's office indicates that they found insufficient evidence to charge Munnecke because the only evidence is a pubic hair found on Kelly's body that matches Munnecke.
Authorities believe that the two had a romantic relationship; however, Munnecke has adamantly denied that their relationship was sexual. He said they were longtime friends.
"This is only evidence tying [defendant] to crime," prosecutor Patricia Wilkinson said in her paperwork declining to file charges. "There are other potential suspects. Insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt."
Munnecke is a widely respected community member, active in numerous civic organizations and his San Marino church. Friends were shocked by his arrest and said Friday that the D.A.'s decision not to file charges makes more sense.
"In my mind it was an inappropriate and untimely arrest," said Diana Peterson-More, vice president of the Pasadena Rotary Club, in which Munnecke was active. "I'm grateful on behalf of Allan and his family."
"I'm someone who does believes in the science; this indicates to me that the science was insufficient or corrupted," Peterson-More said. "Although we're innocent until proven guilty, when people are arrested there's a tendency to have gone through the jury trial in our minds. I hope this doesn't destroy his reputation and standing in the community."
[For the record, 2:10 p.m. Feb. 10: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Kelly's body was found three weeks after she was reported missing. The correct time frame is 11 days.]
-- Adolfo Flores and Andrew Blankstein