DISPATCH: Dunn County 911
DON SIPPLE: I have a young lady that just came to my house and said somebody attacked her.
In March of 2018, a hysterical and bloodied twenty-year-old Ezra McCandless frantically banged on the front door of dairy farmer Don Sipple’s home in a remote area of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. When Don answered the door, he found a bare-footed and muddy Ezra begging for a doctor. The word ‘boy’ had been cut into her arm and her clothing had been torn. Don, of course, let Ezra in and consoled her while the two waited for the police.
What Don didn’t know at the time was that Ezra was a cold-blooded killer.
Infidelity Leads to a False Rape Accusation
Ezra, born Monica Kay, was described as a free-spirited amateur artist who had dropped out of college to focus on her love for art. Even Ezra’s car was covered in her artwork. It would suffice to say, Ezra liked to stand out.
Ezra and her boyfriend Jason Mengal, a medic in the army reserve who was thirteen years her senior, would often hang out at a local coffee shop called Racy D’Lenes. It was there the couple made friends with the barista, Alex Woodworth.
Alex was a part-time barista and a part-time substitute teacher. His dream was to one day become a professor of philosophy.
The three quickly became inseparable.
Jason got along well with Alex. He believed Alex and Ezra could help each other through some tough situations as they had a lot in common:
“She was going through emotional things. He was a really good friend. I kind of pushed them together at one time, because I knew they both had similar viewpoints. He had some things in his life that I figured she could help him with, and I thought that he could help her with things in her life.”
Ezra found Alex’s theories on philosophy fascinating. So much so, that she began a romantic and sexual affair with Alex, behind her boyfriend Jason’s back.
However, Jason and Alex weren’t enough — Ezra wanted more.
On Valentine’s Day, Jason found flirty text messages between Ezra and his best friend John Hansen on her phone. When confronted, Ezra told him John had raped her.
It was theorized that because Jason suspected Ezra of being unfaithful, she told him she had been raped. Perhaps, in an attempt to conceal her disloyalty, or perhaps it was just a ruse to gain Jason’s attention and sympathy.
Nevertheless, Ezra’s plan was foiled when Alex, who was interviewed by the police regarding the matter, told the authorities Ezra had confided in him that the encounter with John had been consensual.
The case was ultimately dropped.
When Jason’s fears of infidelity had been confirmed, he ended his relationship with his then live-in girlfriend. Ezra moved out but she continued to try and win Jason back. Although he did care for Ezra, he knew he could not trust her and her attempts were never successful. Soon, Alex too broke up with Ezra.
In a mere matter of months, Ezra had gone from juggling and deceiving three men, to being completely alone.
A Love Triangle Turned Deadly
On March 22, 2018, Ezra visited Alex at Racy D’Lenes.
Upon completing his shift, Ezra asked Alex to take a drive with her. She told him she needed closure over their breakup and that she had a few personal items to return to him.
The next time anyone other than Ezra saw Alex, he would be bloodied and lifeless, with half of his body hanging out of the backseat of her car, riddled with stab wounds.
Ezra had drummed up quite a story for investigators.
She claimed Alex was upset about their break-up. That he had dragged her into the backseat of her car, torn off her clothes with a blade and carved the word ‘boy’ into her arm. Ezra claimed she then grabbed a large jagged knife and fought back.
Of course, investigators found many inconsistencies in Ezra’s story.
If Alex and Ezra were involved in a physical altercation, how come Alex did not have any defensive wounds? Why was there a pool of blood outside of the car, and not in the backseat if that’s where the so-called fight occurred?
Ezra’s story was full of holes and investigators did not believe it for a second.
According to their theory, Ezra’s car became stuck in the mud. The two got out of the vehicle to inspect the situation, and while Alex had his back turned, Ezra attacked him from behind with a knife she had stolen from her father’s house.
Alex had then attempted to climb into the backseat to escape Ezra’s slashes. Once Alex, who had suffered sixteen stab wounds to his head, neck, groin and torso, was dead, Ezra tore her own clothes and mutilated herself to appear as the victim.
When confronted by the inconsistencies in her story, Ezra confessed to having carved ‘boy’ into her own arm. She claimed Alex had always called her a boy to mock her sexuality and it had enraged her. Ezra stated she had acted only in self-defence, that she had wanted to stop stabbing Alex, but she had to protect herself against his alleged attack.
Perhaps the most sadistic of all was the subsequent discovery that Alex would have survived his wounds, had Ezra not taken his phone and smashed it, to prevent him from calling for help.
The Battle for Justice has Only Begun
To investigators, Ezra’s intention and the motive was clear.
Ezra was mad at Alex for ending their relationship. Ezra still harboured deep feelings of love for Jason and she felt that with Alex fully out of the picture, she would have another chance with him. Prosecutors proved Ezra had deliberately driven Alex to a remote area with the intention to brutally murder him.
At the murder trial, which commenced in October of 2019, Jason took the stand. Ezra had not seen her ex-boyfriend for a year and a half, her face lit up with excitement as she saw him enter the courtroom. Many pointed out Ezra’s bizarre demeanour during the trial. She was criticized at times for being too calm, smiling too much and making too many jokes.
At one point, Jason stated:
“When she was on the witness stand, it didn’t seem real. She just seemed at times to be enjoying it.”
During the trial, Ezra spent most of her time working on drawings she now sells on her Instagram page to fund an appeal. To this day, Ezra continues to claim her innocence stating, “The battle for justice has only begun.”
Justice for Alex Woodworth
The sentencing took place in February of 2020. Ezra provided the following apology to the Woodworth family:
“I loved Alex very much. I also feel a great loss. I will never find words to express how sorry I am.”
The judge took Ezra’s apology with a grain of salt and ultimately sentenced her to life in prison — a sentence in which she must serve a minimum of fifty years before being eligible for parole.
Although Ezra may claim she is innocent, the evidence clearly proves otherwise.
Ezra was right about one thing though, the battle for justice certainly has only just begun, but for Alex Woodworth, whose murderer will sit in prison and ponder her cruel actions for the next half-century.
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