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Totem pole murder suspect said to have had online affair

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An Alabama woman who allegedly carried on intimate and romantic Facebook conversations with Carl Muggli told a Koochiching County sheriff's deputy that she was on the phone with Muggli on Nov. 26, 2010, when she heard him arguing with his wife about getting a divorce.

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The woman said Muggli called her back 30 minutes later and told her that an accident had happened and emergency medical technicians were working on his wife, Linda. Muggli's wife died later that day after a totem pole she and her husband were carving was found on top of her.

That information is contained in a criminal complaint charging Muggli, 49, formerly of the Koochiching County community of Ray, with the intentional second-degree murder of his 61-year-old wife.

The criminal complaint further alleges that Muggli gave several versions of the incident that claimed his wife's life.

Muggli was living in Stockdale, Texas, about

40 miles east of San Antonio, when arrested Tuesday by agents from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the Texas Rangers, and deputies from Koochiching County and from Wilson County and Guadalupe County in Texas.

He is expected to make a formal appearance in Koochiching County District Court this week.

According to the criminal complaint:

On the day of the incident, Carl Muggli told a Koochiching County sheriff's deputy that the totem pole wasn't lying level in a cradle as they worked on it, so he placed two or three 2x4s under the pole to keep it level. He said they were turning the pole with a cant hook when it suddenly fell to the floor on top of his wife. He said he had his back to her and couldn't see how it happened. When he turned, the pole was lying across her chest and shoulder. He also said that one of the arms on the cradle that held the pole was across her neck. He couldn't explain how she wound up under the pole.

On Dec. 2, a deputy met with an unidentified concerned citizen regarding printed Facebook pages. The pages were reported to be discussions between Carl Muggli and an Alabama woman identified only as M.L.G.

A search warrant was obtained to examine a computer at Muggli's residence.

The on-line conversations allegedly between Muggli and M.L.G. that were captured on the computer included:

# Oct. 23, 2010 -- M.L.G. wrote: "I love you and want this all even to be the only one within your life and I well (sic) marry you I just do not want problems we can handle this all but we will do it right for all parties. You can always reach me as I can you just carefully."

# Oct. 25 -- The defendant wrote: "In case you forgot, I LOVE YOU."

# Nov. 25 -- (the day before Linda Muggli's death) The defendant wrote: "Friendly reminder. Eveningstar-Bunny-MyWife. I love you with all my being. Every move, every though (sic) everything in my life is now for you, US. I want us together to live our lives as we seek. With all the Love, Passion, Affection, Emotion that we have. These feeling are directly from my soul. For I am with you. I am yours. We are one!"

# Nov. 28 -- The defendant wrote: "I love you veningstar, we'll get through this, I love you, house just got full again, will call soon.''

# Nov. 30 -- Linda Muggli's memorial service was held at 10 a.m. Four hours later Muggli allegedly sent M.L.G. a link for property in Palestine, Texas. Five-and-one-half hours after the memorial service, M.L.G. wrote in response to e-mails about the property: "Hi Baby, you, U have been nusy, this is good and yes I'll look, thank U, I'm loving it, all properties good, yes, very good, ... follow your heart as I have been doing. I love you baby call when can, Hugs and Kisses, holding you tight, I will not let you go, love you my husband."

On Dec. 27, Koochiching County deputies and a BCA special agent executed a search warrant at the Muggli residence to photograph, measure and attempt to recreate the incidents surrounding Linda Muggli's death.

They found that the totem pole was 17 feet long. The bottom of the pole was 19½ inches in diameter, the top of the pole was 16 inches in diameter. The pole lying in the cradle was 13½ inches off the floor. If two 2x4s were added to the top of the pole as the defendant said, the pole was 16½ inches off the floor. The bottom end was 16¾ inches off the floor because there was a quarter-inch of Teflon on the cradle to make it slide easier.

Officers then tried to re-create the claimed accident using a cant hook. They tried five times to make the pole come out of the cradle while rolling it and were unable to do so.

On Jan. 2, a deputy spoke with the owners of the totem pole involved in the death of Linda Muggli. One owner said that the defendant told her that his wife was working underneath the pole when it fell out of the holder onto her.

On Jan. 18, the deputy talked to Linda Muggli's brother, who said that Carl Muggli told him that he and his wife were unloading a new log, not carved, with a Bobcat when the cable broke, causing the log to fall and hit the victim.

The deputy also talked to Linda Muggli's brother-in-law that day. He said he heard Carl Muggli tell the medical examiner that a cable had broken, causing the log to fall on the victim.

The deputy also spoke to a woman who said she had been in the Muggli residence about 11:40 a.m. the day of the incident. She said she felt a lot of tension between the defendant and his wife. She said she was very uncomfortable and left as soon as possible.

The deputy met with two Minnesota State Patrol troopers on Jan. 26 and weighed the pole. It weighed 700 pounds.

According to the complaint, Carl Muggli told the deputy that the pole was pine and he estimated the weight at more than 2,800 pounds.

On May 30, M.L.G. talked to the Koochiching County deputy and told him of hearing the defendant arguing with his wife about getting a divorce. She said he called her back 30 minutes later to say there had been an accident.

Muggli was arrested Tuesday.

The Mugglis had been carving totem poles since 1990 on their property just outside Voyageurs National Park. Their Native Veterans Totem, honoring American Indians who served in the military, stands outside the Veterans Administration hospital in Brockton, Mass. There's also a Muggli totem pole outside Chalet Geronimo in the French Alps, and the couple carved three totem poles for the Princess Diana Memorial Park in London.

Carl Muggli's only prior criminal record in Minnesota is for speeding and taking one mallard over the limit.

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Pioneer staff reports
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