Accused Luzerne County Killer: Murder Charge ‘sucks’
KINGSTON — Accused killer Devin Malik Cunningham showed up to court Tuesday afternoon in pajama pants with a “s’up” to reporters and a request for people to follow his Instagram page.
Asked for a reaction to charges alleging he and three others brutally murdered 71-year-old Joseph Monka last month, Cunningham maintained his innocence.
“Damn, that s--t sucks. I can’t lie,” said Cunningham, 20, of Wilkes-Barre. “But I’m going to have to deal with it.”
Magisterial District Judge James J. Haggerty arraigned Cunningham on criminal homicide and conspiracy to commit murder, theft, conspiracy to commit theft, unauthorized use of a vehicle and tampering with evidence. Cunningham was also arraigned on theft charges in an unrelated case alleging he stole $10 from a vehicle.
The judge denied him bail in the murder case, citing the danger posed to the community.
Cunningham was directed to apply for a public defender and was sent to the Luzerne County Correctional facility with a preliminary hearing set for June 7.
After the hearing, Assistant District Attorney Jarrett J. Ferentino vowed to deliver justice for Monka.
“Mr. Monka, as we’ve said, was an elderly, good member of this community,” Ferentino said. “He was related to one of the defendants. It’s a tragic case. It is a violent case, but it is one we intend to see through our system and hold these four individuals accountable.”
Cunningham’s co-defendants include Monka’s 17-year-old granddaughter, Gabriella Long, as well as Christopher Cortez, 19, of Wilkes-Barre, and Mercedes Lin Hall, 16, of Kingston.
Monka was brutally beaten and stabbed in the neck at his home at 30 Arch St., Edwardsville, on April 15 before his granddaughter and her friends stole his car and roughly $30,000 he kept in a basement safe, according to state police.
Monka’s bloody body was discovered underneath a large dresser on the second floor of his home two days later after witnesses entered the ransacked property to check on his welfare.
Police arrested Long, Cortez and Hall at a Plains Twp. hotel early the morning of April 18, hours after Monka’s body was discovered.
U.S. marshals captured Cunningham at his mother’s home in Fairfax, Virginia on April 25. He had been held in Virginia until Pennsylvania State Police brought him back Tuesday.
All four defendants are charged with criminal homicide, conspiracy to commit murder, theft, conspiracy to commit theft, unauthorized use of a vehicle and tampering with evidence.
They are being held at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility without bail.
Contact the writer: