A former Tuolumne County man who strangled his wife and dumped her body in a canal near Oakdale in 1996 was denied parole at a recent hearing held at Soledad state prison, according to the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office.
District Attorney Birgit Fladager, who prosecuted the case 20 years ago, appeared at the hearing for 70-year-old Edwin Munis.
The body of Wilma Munis, 52, was found in a canal at South Stearns Road and Warnerville Road by an OID ditch tender on Sept. 5, 1996 An investigation by the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office revealed that she had been strangled and dumped in the canal.
Her husband, Edwin Munis, was later arrested for the murder after witnesses placed the couple together in Oakdale in her distinctive burgundy Lincoln Town Car. The day after her body was found, the Town Car was found on a canal access road just below Tulloch Lake which was about 3 miles from the Munis home.
Evidence at trial revealed prior acts of domestic violence including choking and established that Munis had staged a crime scene to make it appear as if his wife had committed suicide by jumping into the canal outside of Tulloch Lake.
District Attorney Fladager attended the parole hearing and argued for continued confinement in state prison based on Munis’ lack of remorse and failure to accept responsibility. He continues to maintain that his wife’s death was a suicide.
The Board denied parole for three years, finding that the crime was committed in a gruesome manner, Munis lacks insight into the crime and poses a risk of danger to the public. This was Munis’s first parole hearing.