Initially, Susan Monica claimed she only killed Robert Haney because she found the pigs eating him alive and wanted to put him out of his misery.
Susan Monica’s property seemed eerie to others, especially because she allegedly said at one point 17 bodies were buried there.
Monica was born Steven Buchanan in California in 1948. She served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. Following an honorable discharge, she began living as a woman.
In 1991, Monica bought a 20-acre farm in rural Wimer, Oregon. She had a herd of pigs, raised chickens, and ran a wrought-iron fence and gate-building business named White Queen Construction.
When Monica first bought her property, it was undeveloped woodlands. She erected a large barn and started work on a house. In 2013, she hired Robert Haney. “He was her handyman, laborer, carpenter. Whatever she asked of him, he did,” said former employee Sean Leimanis.
Robert had found Monica through an ad on Craigslist.
“He received a concerning phone call from a family member that she had been the victim of assault and he was really upset about that,” she had said, Henderson told producers.
Monica claimed Robert then began drinking heavily and acting erratically. She said he eventually told her he was going away for awhile and asked her to take care of his dog.
Authorities were able to track Robert’s Oregon Trail Electronics Benefit Transfer card. They learned it had last been used in December 2013 at a Walmart in Grants Pass, Oregon, about a 25-minute drive from Monica’s property.
“It had been used at a date after Susan Monica said that he had disappeared,” Jackson County Deputy District Attorney Allan Smith told producers.
Detectives then reviewed security camera footage, which showed Monica using Robert’s EBT card. Then, investigators spotted something truly disturbing: a human leg in a catchment pond.
It was clear that it was not an animal bone. It appeared to me to be a human leg that had been severed mid-femur, down to the toes,” Denney said.
Detectives brought Monica into the sheriff’s station for questioning. After being confronted with the discovery of a human leg on her property, she told a bizarre and disturbing story.
Monica claimed that one day the previous fall, she found her pigs in a feeding frenzy. When she looked to see what it was, she saw Robert laying there “with his guts all over the place.”
“He was being eaten, what I believed to be, alive,” Monica told detectives during the interview, audio of which was obtained by “Snapped.” She said she couldn’t stop the pigs, so she got her gun and shot him.
“I put him out of his misery,” she says in the audio. “I do that for my animals and this was the first time I did it for a human being and I knew it was wrong but if it were one of my pigs suffering out there, I would have done the same thing.”
Monica left Robert’s body in the pigpen until the hogs had their fill. After a couple of days, she scooped up his remains and put them in garbage bags. A wild animal later got into one of the bags and dragged the foot out to the pond, she claimed.
Monica said she didn’t tell the authorities about the incident because she was afraid they would kill her pigs. When asked what else investigators might find on her property, she broke down and told them they would find worse.
Monica drew a map of her property and in the middle put an “X.”
“She said, ‘Right there. That’s where you’re going to find Steve,’” Henderson told producers.
“Steve” was Stephen Delicino, a handyman who worked on Monica’s property a year before Robert got there.
Monica claimed that in the summer of 2012, two of her guns went missing. She said she found them in Delicino’s belongings and confronted him. They got in some sort of wrestling match, she alleged, and the gun went off, shooting Delicino in the back of the head. Rather than killing him, Delicino stood up and chased Monica toward her barn where she picked up her rifle.
“At one point during the struggle, Stephan was down on his knees, she was above him, and she picked up the rifle and she shot him in the head,” Henderson told producers.
She fed Delicino’s body to the pigs and later buried whatever was left.
Monica was arrested on Jan. 14, 2014 and charged with two counts each of murder and first-degree abuse of a corpse as well as one count of identity theft, the Mail Tribune reported at the time. Her pigs were subsequently euthanized.
Over the following weeks, dozens of crime scene investigators searched Monica’s property, digging over 100 holes. They found the remains of Haney, Delicino, and numerous personal belongings, including a large pile of shoes, but no other bodies.
Farris also testified Monica had told her the truth about Robert’s murder.
“Susan told me that Robert and her got into an argument because he was drunk and he was trying to come on to her. She shot him and then pushed him into the pigpen,” Farris told producers.
After deliberating for an hour, a jury found Susan Monica guilty on all counts on April 21, 2015. She was sentenced to a minimum of 50 years in prison, the Oregonian newspaper reported in 2015.