In the quiet countryside of rural Oregon, a grim discovery was made on the farm of Susan Monica in 2014. When investigators searched her property, they found the partial remains of two missing men—Robert Haney and Stephen Delicino. As the macabre case unfolded, a disturbing tale emerged of murder, dismemberment, and lies from the farm’s owner, Susan Monica. “You valued pigs more than you value people,” the judge later told her at sentencing.
Who is Susan Monica?
Susan Monica was born Steven Buchanan in 1948 in California. She served in the Navy during the Vietnam War before being honourably discharged. After leaving the military, Monica began living as a woman and working as a successful engineer.
In 1991, Monica purchased a 20-acre farm in the rural town of Wimer, Oregon. On the property, she raised livestock like pigs and chickens. Monica also ran a wrought iron fence and gate business called White Queen Construction.
Over the years, Monica developed the farm, building a barn and making plans to construct a house. To aid in the construction projects, Monica often hired local handymen found through Craigslist ads and other sources. These work-for-hire arrangements would ultimately have deadly consequences.
The Disappearance of Robert Haney
In 2013, Monica hired a man named Robert Haney to help build a house on her farm. Haney saw the job as a chance to enjoy a simple life in the countryside. As payment, he would receive part cash and part room and board, living on Monica’s property in a trailer.
Haney worked on the farm for about six months. But in December 2013, his family grew concerned after not hearing from him for over two months. Haney’s children visited the farm to look for their father, but Monica claimed he had quit and left months before.
Right away, the Haneys doubted Monica’s story. Haney’s belongings, including his dog, were still on the property. They reported him missing, prompting police to question Monica about his disappearance.
Monica’s Version of Events
Monica told investigators an odd story to explain Robert Haney’s disappearance. She said that one day while outside, she came upon her pigs feeding on something. When she looked closer, she realized in horror it was Haney’s body that the pigs were eating.
According to Monica, Haney was still alive but gravely wounded, with his guts exposed. Believing he was suffering, she claimed to have shot him to “put him out of his misery” as she would do for injured livestock. She never reported Haney’s death because she feared her pigs would be euthanized.
Suspicious of Monica’s story, police searched the farm. They found a severed human leg, confirming their fears of foul play. Under questioning, Monica’s story took an even more chilling turn.
A Second Body Unearthed – Stephen Delicino
When pressed by police about what else they might find on her land, Monica admitted there was a second body buried on the property. She directed them to the location where the remains of Stephen Delicino were found.
Delicino was a handyman who had worked for Monica back in 2012, a year before Robert Haney. Monica claimed Delicino stole two of her guns, and they struggled over the weapons. In the scuffle, Monica said she shot Delicino in self-defence.
But again, Monica’s version of events did not match the evidence. Delicino had suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the head, and his body was dismembered like Haney’s.
Shocking Revelations and Changing Stories:
As she spoke further with police, Susan Monica’s stories shifted and grew increasingly outlandish. She went from saying she shot Delicino in self-defence to claiming he repeatedly shot himself in the head.
Most disturbingly, when asked if there were any other bodies on her land, Monica implied there could be up to 17 more victims. She said if she told police about the other deaths, she would spend the rest of her life in jail.
Monica’s credibility unravelled further once she went to trial. Her behaviour in court was bizarre and erratic. She appeared wearing an array of wigs, personally cross-examined a detective, and loudly acted out shooting Delicino in front of the jury.
Verdict and Sentencing
In the end, prosecutors argued that the physical evidence proved Susan Monica’s guilt in murdering Robert Haney and Stephen Delicino. The dismemberment of their bodies and her constantly changing stories undermined her claims of mercy killings and self-defence.
Monica was found guilty of both murders and sentenced to life in prison, with no possibility of parole for at least 50 years. The judge condemned her actions, saying she seemed to value her pigs more than human lives.
Bizarre Behavior at Trial
- At trial, Monica acted as her own attorney at times and wore wigs. She signed a birthday card “the sweetest murderer in Jackson County.”
- Monica’s stories kept changing. She claimed Delicino repeatedly shot himself and that Haney may have already been dead when she shot him.
- Prosecutors argued the physical evidence proved Monica’s guilt. After just an hour, the jury convicted her of both murders.
Ongoing Mystery and Speculation
To this day, many disturbing mysteries linger about Susan Monica’s farm. Detectives noted that Haney and Delicino’s remains were found scattered across the property in plastic bags. This organised dismemberment hints that their deaths were not impulsive acts of violence.
Additionally, Monica’s claim that there could be up to 17 more bodies on her land was never disproven. After her convictions, no further search for victims seems to have taken place. Some speculate that Monica may have been a serial killer who fed her victims to her pigs to cover up the murders.
However, with Monica imprisoned for life, any further victims may never be found. The full truth about what happened on her isolated farm may never be known. Still, the horrific fates of Robert Haney and Stephen Delicino stand as a chilling warning about the darkness that can lurk beneath a bucolic countryside façade.
The story of Susan Monica’s farm murders illustrates how evil can fester when hidden away from the public eye. Her ability to kill and dismember two men, and possibly more, shows the depths of human depravity.
Yet there are still lessons we can glean. The persistence of Robert Haney’s family brought attention to the case and justice for their loved one. And the detective work to uncover Monica’s lies and obfuscations eventually led to a righteous conviction.
The murders on Susan Monica’s farm will likely haunt Oregon’s rural communities for years to come. But the resolve of those who faced the darkness and brought it into the light remains an inspiration.
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