Husband arrested in MCAD grads death

WHITTIER — A Whittier man was charged Friday with second-degree murder in the death of his wife in June.

Kira Simonian, 32, a graduate student at Minneapolis College of Art and Design, was stabbed about 15 times in the chest and neck, an autopsy showed. The criminal complaint filed against her husband, Matthew Gretz, indicated Simonian also suffered blunt-force trauma to the head.

Gretz, 33, was being held in Hennepin County jail Friday with bail set at $1 million. He was arrested Wednesday by Minneapolis police.

Gretz and Simonian shared an apartment at 2435 1st Ave. S. where Simonian’s body was found July 28. Around 5 a.m. July 27, yelling and loud banging were heard coming from the apartment, other residents of the building told police.

At one point, a man’s voice was heard to yell something like, “Do you love me?”

Neighbors next heard a woman scream twice, then silence, police reported.

Moments after the disturbance, Gretz took a cab to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, where he left on a flight to New York City for business.

When police entered their apartment the next day, they found Simonian’s body in the living room. A knife and claw hammer, both covered in blood, were found nearby.

During an interview with Gretz, investigators noted cuts on his hands, arms and left shin and bruises on various parts of his body.

Investigators found blood on Gretz’s watch and the suitcase he brought with him to New York City. Analysis by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension found the DNA on both closely matched that of Gretz and Simonian.

Samples taken from beneath Simonian’s fingernails also had DNA that could have come from Gretz.

At the time of her death, Simonian had completed one year of a two-year master of fine arts program at MCAD. The college released a statement Friday expressing sympathy for Simonian’s family and gratitude for police efforts to “find justice for our talented student and colleague.”