Detective: Man may have killed others in Honduras
GRETNA (AP) — A man accused of bludgeoning his girlfriend to death in Metairie has been described in court by a detective as a violent man who may have killed three police officers and a neighbor in Honduras while working as a human smuggler.
Detective Rhonda Goff testified Friday in the first Jefferson Parish court appearance for 43-year-old Pedro Monterroso.
Commissioner Patricia Joye found probable cause to keep Monterroso jailed on a charge of second-degree murder in the death of Heidi Monroy on July 13. His bond has been set at $1 million.
Goff said Monterroso told her that he hit Monroy “out of self-defense and anger” after she hit him with a steel bar.
Public defender Richard Tompson said in an email Sunday to The Associated Press that his office does not comment about pending cases.
Monterroso showed no emotion during the hearing. He listened as the proceedings were translated to him and occasionally whispered with his court-appointed public defender.
Goff testified that Monroy’s sister, being held in an immigration detention center in Texas, told her she’d been in a relationship with Monterroso and he beat her. “With both of the sisters, he used to beat them on the legs,” Goff said. “When Heidi came to the country, her legs were covered in bruises.”
A brother of Monroy’s in New York also described her relationship with Monterroso as violent, Goff said.
Goff said the sister also told her about the alleged killings in Honduras, Goff said. Goff said Monroy’s sister also claimed Monterroso was a “coyote,” slang for smugglers who charge money to help immigrants enter the United States without legal permission.
Monterroso and Monroy had recently crossed the border into the United States illegally and had been detained by immigration officials before being released and ordered to report back later.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman have said that Border Patrol agents took Monterroso and two children into custody June 26 in the Rio Grande Valley, and had arrested Monroy and three children in the same area May 11.
Goff said Monroy’s sister told her that she was the mother of two of the children.
She said Monterroso had learned that Monroy was having an affair with a clerk at a nearby food store, and sent the man text messages telling him to leave Monroy alone. Monterroso also told Goff that Monroy had been drinking with two male neighbors the night she died, and he became angry when he caught her with a bag of cocaine, the detective testified.
Investigators did not find any illegal drugs in the apartment, Goff said.