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Beverly Monroe

Other Virginia Cases with Perjury or False Accusation
In March 1992, Beverly Monroe returned to her boyfriend’s home on Windsor Farm in rural Powhatan County, Virginia, and found him dead.

Though the death of 60-year-old Roger Zygmunt de la Burde was initially believed to be a suicide, a detective investigating the case suspected homicide, and had a theory that Monroe had murdered the victim out of jealousy for sleeping with other women.

The detective repeatedly questioned Monroe, suggesting that she had blocked the memory of the killing. After eight hours of interrogation, Monroe told the detective that she might have been at the victim’s home at the time of the death and blocked the memory.

The detective met with Monroe later and threatened that she would not be able to see her children if she was found guilty, and eventually convinced her to sign a statement that she had fallen asleep after dinner and was there when the death occurred. Monroe was then arrested for the murder of de la Burde.

At trial in Powhatan County Circuit Court, prosecution experts testified that, based on the position in which the gun was found, the victim could not have shot himself. The prosecution also presented Monroe’s statement as well as a witness who claimed that Monroe had tried to buy a gun from her earlier that year.

The defense presented evidence showing the death was a suicide. In November 1992, a jury convicted Monroe of first-degree murder and a weapons charge. Monroe was sentenced to 22-years in prison.

With the assistance of her daughter, Kathryn who had gone to law school and become an attorney, Monroe later discovered that the prosecution had withheld evidence.

The evidence showed that the witness claiming that Monroe tried to buy a gun was given a deal in exchange for her testimony. In addition, a groundskeeper at de la Burde's house told police he had moved the gun when he found the body.

Medical documents concluding the death was a suicide were also discovered, as were notes from the interrogation of Monroe supporting her contention that the detective manipulated her.

In April 2002, a United States District Court judge granted Monroe’s habeas corpus petition and overturned her conviction. Monroe was released pending the outcome of an appeal or retrial.

In June 2003, after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld the decision, prosecutors announced that they would not retry the case. When Monroe was released in 2003, she was greeted by her children and a grandson she had never held.

In 2004, a bill was introduced in the Legislature to provide $400,000 in compensation plus a $1,237,000 annuity, but it did not pass.

– Stephanie Denzel

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Posting Date:  Before June 2012
Last Updated: 11/7/2016
Most Serious Crime:Murder
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:1992
Sentence:22 years
Age at the date of reported crime:54
Contributing Factors:False Confession, False or Misleading Forensic Evidence, Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No