Bail has been set at $2 million for Carl Muggli, who is accused of using a totem pole to kill his wife.
Koochiching County District Court Judge Charles LeDuc Thursday affirmed the prosecution’s request to set bail at $2 million in a court order issued Friday. Muggli, 50, remains in custody.
On Thursday, the judge ordered Muggli’s trial for premeditated first-degree murder and intentional second-degree murder in the Nov. 26, 2010, death of his wife, Linda, 61, to be held at the Beltrami County Courthouse in Bemidji.
The trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 14, with jury selection and the trial expected to take about 2 1/2 weeks. In September, prosecutors asked LeDuc to attempt to find a venue that would accommodate the 17-foot totem pole that will likely be used as evidence in the case.
The case is being prosecuted by Minnesota Assistant Attorney General Robert Plesha with assistance from Koochiching County Attorney Jeffrey Naglosky. Minneapolis defense attorney Charles Hawkins represents Muggli.
LeDuc’s order issued Friday also denied without prejudice motions made by Hawkins to dismiss some evidence in the case. Among those motions are to suppress certain statements made by Muggli in Texas and a motion to dismiss the indictments made by a grand jury July 30. To deny without prejudice means the request could be refiled.
The order said that the defense failed to meet an extended deadline of Oct. 23 to file a memoranda of law in support of his motions to dismiss.
Bail of $1 million cash had been set after the July 30 grand jury indictment. Hawkins had asked that Muggli remain free until the trial under conditions set in June by LeDuc. Those conditions allowed his release to the custody of his sister, Helen Wallander, of International Falls, and required him to wear a GPS monitor. LeDuc later agreed to allow Muggli to leave Koochiching County to work in the Kabetogama area.
LeDuc’s order said the court would reconsider a request for bail reduction should the defendant renew the request during the prosecution of the case.
A first-degree murder charge carries a maximum penalty of life without the possibility of release. The second-degree murder charge carries the maximum penalty of no more than 40 years in prison.
Carl and Linda Muggli, married 24 years, were apparently carving a totem pole on their 20-acre property near Ray when she was injured by the totem pole. She was taken to the International Falls hospital where she was pronounced dead, according to the complaint.
The complaint against Muggli alleges that after Linda’s death, he gave several different explanations to law officials and others of what happened the day she died.
Court documents also show that the investigation into Linda’s death deepened after a “concerned citizen,” an International Falls woman, pointed to entries made on a Facebook account which appeared to be “very intimate in nature” with a woman in Alabama.
A search warrant obtained computer equipment from the Muggli residence and revealed conversations between Muggli and a person with whom it appears he was having a romantic relationship.
The computer also revealed that Muggli had been seeking information about real estate in Texas and mentioned just one day prior to Linda’s death “my current situation — divorce — will not allow buying.”
In executing a search warrant of the Muggli residence the month following Linda’s death, officers found that the carving had been completed on the totem pole involved in Linda’s death and it had been stained or polyurethane-coated.