Bernard Brown Pleads Not Guilty to Second Degree Murder of “Mo” Monsalve
Bernard Brown pleaded not guilty today to second degree murder in the disappearance of Moriera “Mo” Monsalve. Brown, 48, arrived back on Maui on Wednesday and made his plea during his initial court appearance today before Maui Judge Joseph Cardoza.
For Monsalve’s daughter, it has been a long five years to finally get the man she blames for her mother’s disappearance in a court of law.
“I know what he did and he’s going to keep denying it,” said Monsalve’s daughter, Alexis Felicilda. “We just have to go forward and make sure we and go through the whole criminal justice process and put him away for life because he’s a monster.”
Brown was extradited to Maui from Sacramento where he was arrested following a Maui Grand Jury indictment on Sept. 20, 2019.
The indictment, which was unsealed today after his first court appearance, states that “during or about the period of January 12, 2014 through January 13, 2014 . . . Bernard Brown did intentionally or knowingly cause the death of another person . . . Moreira Monsalve, thereby committing the offense of Murder in the Second Degree.”
During the court proceeding, Brown’s defense attorney did not ask the judge for lower bail. Currently Brown’s bail is set at $1 million.
With the waiving of a bail hearing, the case advances to trial. A pretrial conference has been set for Nov. 13, 2019; and trial by jury has been set for on Dec. 2, 2019.
Monsalve was 46 years old when she was last seen on Jan. 12, 2014, at Brown’s residence in Wailuku. Brown was her ex-boyfriend at the time. Police say the advancement of technology and the diligent work of detectives, prosecutors and the FBI were key, and that cell phone evidence played a huge part in this case, especially since Monsalve’s body was never found.
The state requested that Brown has no contact from the victim’s daughter. Over the years Alexis said she worked hard to make sure that any information she or anyone else found or received about her mother’s case made it’s way to the hands of Maui police, Maui prosecutors or the FBI.
Monsalve’s belongings, including her purse and cell phone were found in a dumpster next to Brown’s residence in Wailuku. “The cell phone was in a couple of different pieces and they were–the FBI was–able to put it back together and extract data from it. But like I said, there is many different contributions, not only that. That will all come out during the trial,” said Felicilda outside of the courtroom today.
“I’m hoping that he doesn’t (make) bail, because he does have a violent past. He has been arrested before and (has) been in the system for violent crime. So hopefully he doesn’t make bail,” said Felicilda.
At one point during the hearing, Brown glanced toward the gallery where Felicilda was seated. “And he did look over at me and nod at me and I was just like… anger… the fact that he felt like he had the right to even try to make like I should feel sorry for him,” said Felicilda.
“Logically you look at records and past cases, it’s majority of the time the ex-boyfriend when it comes to these type of murder trials,” she said, “…but criminals have more rights than victims and this is why it took all this time… Everything will come out during trial, but there’s a lot of different factors. So, he wasn’t as smart as he thought he was basically.”
Felicilda said she’s held on to hope that her mother would be found so that she can be brought home “for a proper funeral.”
“That’s always been the ultimate goal,” said Felicilda. “I want to bring her home.”