- 27 Years
In December of 2012, Jim Melgar was brutally murdered while celebrating his 32nd wedding anniversary with his wife, Sandy Melgar, at their Houston home. The following morning, Sandy was found by family members tied up in a locked closet in a bathroom. Once family members were able to free her, she immediately inquired about Jim’s presence and was met with tragic news. Jim had been stabbed to death.
Sandy was examined by paramedics as she had severe medical conditions including lupus, two hip replacements, rheumatoid arthritis, and grand mal seizures, a disorder that can cause a loss of consciousness and violent contractions. After being cleared by paramedics, Sandy was taken to the police station where she was interrogated. During the interrogation, Sandy explained that she believed she had suffered a seizure, making it difficult for her to remember what had occurred the previous night. She was able to recall being in the bathtub with her husband. He stepped outside to let in their dogs while she went into the closet and began dressing.
After that, she stated that all she was able to remember was waking up hours later, tied up in the dark. The detectives interrogating Sandy began to imply she may have played a role in her husband’s murder, which she vehemently denied. Immediately after the interrogation ended, the detective attempted to file murder charges against Sandy, despite the fact that the crime scene was still being processed. The charges were rejected at the time due to a lack of evidence.
Despite Sandy maintaining her innocence, having no apparent motive, and no physical injuries that would indicate she had stabbed her husband multiple times, Sandy was indicted by a grand jury a year and a half after Jim’s murder. Almost three years after being indicted, Sandy’s case was finally taken to trial where the prosecution accused her of staging the home invasion in order to murder her husband. The prosecutor argued that Sandy must have been the murderer because there were allegedly no signs of forced entry and incorrectly stated that no items were missing from the house. During the trial, the prosecution put forth the idea that Sandy was unhappy in her marriage and that, being a Jehovah’s Witness, she could not seek a divorce. No witnesses were found to testify that the Melgars had any marital difficulties. The prosecutor regularly brought up Sandy’s faith and made false statements about the practices of Jehovah’s Witnesses during the trial. Combined with the testimony of a blood pattern analyst who dubiously stated the crime scene was not consistent with a home invasion, the prosecution convinced the jury Sandy was guilty of an almost impossible crime. She was sentenced to 27 years in prison.
Sandy has maintained her innocence with the support of their daughter and her and Jim’s families. IPTX continues to work toward Sandy’s exoneration.
Systemic Failures Have Wrongly
Imprisoned Thousands of
The Generosity of Their Fellow Citizens Can Provide Them
The Freedom They Deserve.