Stanislaus County District Attorney Birgit Fladager announced this week that Edwin Munis, 70, formerly of Tuolumne County, was found unsuitable for parole after a March 22, 2017 hearing of the State Board of Parole Hearings held at the Correctional Training Facility, Soledad state prison. District Attorney Fladager appeared at the hearing on behalf of the People. She was the prosecutor during the 1997 jury trial when Munis was convicted of first degree murder.
On Sept. 5, 1996, an OID ditch tender found a body floating in the canal near South Stearns Road and Warnerville Road outside of Oakdale. An investigation by the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office revealed that Wilma Munis, 52, had been strangled and dumped in the canal. Her husband, Edwin Munis, was later arrested for the murder after witnesses placed the two of them together in Oakdale in her distinctive burgundy Lincoln Town Car which was when she was last seen. The day after her body was found, the Town Car was found on a canal access road just below Tulloch Lake which was about three miles from the Munis home. Evidence at trial revealed prior acts of domestic violence including strangulation and established that the staged crime scene was an attempt by Edwin Munis 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’s total lack of remorse and failure to accept responsibility. He continues to maintain that his wife’s death was a suicide.
Wilma Munis’s two brothers and a nephew attended the hearing and gave victim impact statements. Additional statements of other family members were read to the panel. All objected to a grant of parole.
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; he may be eligible for his next hearing earlier than three years based on recent changes in the law.