MANKATO (TEC News) -- "At some point I knew she'd hurt them."
Those were the words of Joel Marvin Munt, on the stand, speaking in his own defense at his murder trial this morning at the Blue Earth County Justice Center in Mankato.
Munt stands accused of firing multiple shots from a hand gun into the body of his ex-wife Svetlana Munt in March 2010. Svetlana Munt was sitting in her car with the couple's three children when Joel Munt ran his SUV into her car, stepped out and shot her infront of the children. Munt then took the children, stole a vehicle from another couple at the park and fled. He was arrested with the children a short time later south of Mankato.
Defense attorney Robert Dockerty started his conversation with Munt by asking about his background. Where he lived as a child, where he went to school.
Munt revealed he orginally wanted to be a commercial airlines pilot, going as far as enrolling in flight school. But with borderline eyesight, he decided to enroll in college and received his BA in computer science from then Mankato State University.
Asked by Dockerty about his personality, Munt described himself as "extremely shy", especially when there are "too many people."
Throughout the trial, Munt has sat with his head down, hunched over a stack of papers and writing.
He said his only girlfriend was a Russian foreign exchange student in high school. So after graduating from college and while at his first job in Sioux City, IA he started dabbing in dating sites to meet a woman.
But they didn't work.
"People didn't have the traditional values I grew up with," said Munt.
So he tried a Russian dating service.
"Unlike American girls, Russian girls were not into cheating...it might be a good place to look," testified Munt.
So he met Svetlana online.
"I get nervous talking...I'm good at writing," said Munt.
The emailed, with the dating service translation each others letters.
On his second visit to Russia they married. Once he returned Munt says he even enlisted the help of a US Senator from Iowa to speed up the VISA process.
Eventually Munt says his job took them to Maryland. That's when he says he started seeing changes in Svetlana following a miscarriage.
She was a "happy person" at first, according to Munt.
"It was a very large change," says Munt. "She got mean. At times she was herself, then she'd change."
Munt said his ex-wife "always had her odd actions."
But she started hoarding, saying he'd find food under newspapers stacked up in corners.
On the stand, Munt made allegations that Svetlana claimed her mother would abuse her.
"When her (Svetlana's) mom would call her up and berate her until she cried," Munt said on the stand.
"Mom was abusive and dad was a drunk," claimed Munt.
And Munt says Svetlana's behavior got worse after the children were born.
"When we had kids they became my life," says Munt.
Munt claimed Svetlana craved attention and he says the kids took his attention away from her.
The kids "gave her a target" for her anger, said Munt.
Munt described life as a balancing act. "Protecting children, to saving marriage, to helping her," according to Munt.
He told the jury he never thought to get her help.
"I pulled away from her," Munt testified. "It wasn't a problem I understood."
"It's a little late to go back and do the right thing now," said Munt.
Munt will be back on the stand this afternoon.
(Copyright 2011 Three Eagles Communications | All Rights Reserved)