Husband Arrested for Shooting Wife Outside of Union Gap Theater – Plot Laid Out in Court Documents
UNION GAP, Wash. — Union Gap police laid out a premeditated murder plot Monday to justify the arrest of John Munzanreder on the first degree for killing his wife. The suspected accomplice, Juan Ibanez Cortes, was also arrested on the same charges.
Our news partner KIMA Action News reports Munzanreder and Ibanez are both held in the Yakima County Jail. They are expected to make an appearance before a judge this afternoon. First degree murder indicates the act was premeditated and Ibanez’s account supports that.
Cynthia Kelley-Munzanreder was shot as she left The Majestic movie theater on Thursday evening with her husband. They were heading to their car when, police say, she was shot twice — once in the head and once in the abdomen.
Court documents paint the picture of what happened just before 9:00 p.m. saying Munzanreder committed the murder himself with the help of Ibanez. Many of the details came from Ibanez’s confession. Munzanreder told officers he and Cynthia heard a shot and saw a man in a black hooded sweatshirt running away. Munzanreder told investigators he initially ran after the guy, but fell to the ground and lost him.
Munzanreder claims he ran back to his wife and found she was shot in the head. Witnesses did not report seeing a man running from the parking lot. During the interview, court documents say Munzanreder, “Lacked sincere emotion of what had just occurred.”
Papers also say Munzanreder stated there were “no issues” within the marriage and “all was well.” Interviews with those who knew John and Cynthia Munzanreder made clear John was openly having an affair “for more than a couple months.” Employees at John Munzanreder’s workplace, Valley Ford, said the affair was well known by those who worked in the service department.
On the day of the murder, Valley Ford employees determined John Munzanreder and Juan Ibanez were off-site together for up to an hour. It was considered out of character for the two to be together during the work day. Valley Ford employees also reported overhearing Ibanez inquiring about buying a firearm prior to the shooting.
During an interview with Union Gap Police on Monday, March 4, court papers say Ibanez admitted leaving with Munzanreder during the work day on Thursday, Feb. 28. Ibanez told detectives the two drove to Main Street and Town Road, then drove back. Ibanez said Munzanreder wanted to talk him about his future with Valley Ford.Ibanez admitted the trip was “strange” and had not happened before.
Ibanez admitted to police that he bought a firearm from a friend. He also admitted being an illegal immigrant who should not be possessing a firearm. Ibanez told officers the weapon was hidden in the service station.
When police asked Ibanez specific questions about Cynthia Kelley-Munzanreder’s murder, Ibanez responded, “I’m done. I want to go home.”
He was held on suspicion of weapons charges instead. Court papers say a short time later Ibanez asked to speak to Union Gap Police Chief Greg Cobb. He told Chief Cobb he had previously approached Munzanreder about borrowing money. Ibanez says that after a couple days, Munzanreder offered him $20,000 to kill his wife.
Ibanez told Chief Cobb he refused. He said Munzanreder asked if he would help instead. Ibanez says he agreed, and John Munzanreder devised the plan. Ibanez explained he was told to hide near some trees alongside the parking lot of The Majestic and wait for the gun to be given to him after hearing gunshots. Ibanez says he heard a shot and a gun was tossed to him. He told Union Gap Police he took the gun to Valley Ford where it was hidden in the rear of the service station.
Ibanez told Chief Cobb two guns were hidden there. One was the gun Ibanez admitted he purchased prior to the shooting. The second was the alleged murder weapon. Search warrants recovered the guns in the same place Ibanzez said they’d be.
Initial tests determined one of the guns matched the bullets that struck Cynthia Kelley-Munzanreder. Initial reports from police said she “succumbed to her injuries” Thursday night. Police later clarified that Cynthia was being kept alive for the purposes of organ donation. She was pronounced dead Saturday evening. She was 45 yearsold.
Police quickly told Action News this was an isolated and targeted incident. Court papers now say John Munzanreder devised the plan for murder and carried it out with the help of his accomplice.