BRENTWOOD — A man accused of murdering his 74-year-old wife over the weekend pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Rockingham County Superior Court on Monday.

Roderick Munstis, 79, of 151 Bypass 28, Derry, is charged with two counts of second-degree murder, one knowingly and the other recklessly, according to court documents. He is accused of shooting his wife, Ellen Munstis, multiple times in the chest with a handgun.

Judge N. William Delker addressed a seemingly confused Munstis and held him without bail. After a short arraignment he was taken back into custody. 

As part of the bail order, the judge said Munstis could not have contact with his wife's family.

The affidavit and arrest warrant in the case have been sealed, meaning they cannot be viewed by the public or members of the press. 

Senior Assistant Attorney General Ben Agati could not not speak to the type of gun used in the crime or how many shots were fired, he said. He also could not speak to motive. 

"Investigators are still working on that (motive) as we speak," he said. 

The office of the chief medical examiner had scheduled Ellen Munstis’ autopsy for 9 a.m. on Sunday and no results are available yet.

Early Saturday morning, Roderick Munstis called 911 and when police arrived at the home they found the body of Ellen Munstis with gunshot wounds to the chest. However, according to court documents filed in superior court Monday, Roderick Munstis indicated he lived alone at the home. 

Neighbor Kirsten Cote, 26, said she and her family have lived next door to the Munstis' nearly her entire life. On Saturday, she described them as quiet and pleasant. 

Early Saturday morning, police came to Cote's door inquiring if she had heard anything, she said.

“I didn’t hear a thing,” Cote told. “And I hear everything. I never saw this many cops here.”

Cote said she came outside to see what was going on and she thought she saw police bringing someone away in handcuffs.

“I couldn’t tell who it was,” she said, mentioning police remained there all night through Saturday afternoon.

Cote said she was "completely shocked" to learn of the death and mentioned the elderly couple would frequently come into McDonald's in Derry and order food when she worked there. 

“They always have been here as neighbors,” Cote said. “We never had an issue with them. They’ve always been nice, but kept to themselves.”

 Reporter Julie Huss contributed to this report. 

Recommended for you