By Guest Nicole
Defense lawyers in the murder trial of Sandra Jean Melgar on Tuesday blamed "a couple of cowboys" at the Harris County Sheriff's Office for jumping to conclusions and accusing her of fatally stabbing her husband in 2012.
"Sandy Melgar got sucked into this by a couple of cowboys who came up with some theories and game over," defense attorney Mac Secrest told jurors in closing arguments of the three-week murder trial. "Where are the real killers? Are we going to see them in the courtroom anytime soon? I wouldn't bet on it."
Melgar, 57, who faces the possibility of life in prison if convicted, is accused of stabbing her husband on Dec. 22, 2012, then tying herself up to stage a home invasion on the eve of their 32nd anniversary.
Friends arriving for a party the next day found Jaime Melgar's body in the couple's northwest Harris County home, with Sandra Melgar tied up in the master bedroom closet.
The defense insisted that Sandra Melgar never saw the home invader that hit her in the back of the head, tied her up and brutally stabbed her husband 31 times.
Melgar's attorney said police failed to investigate a neighbor with a criminal record who was acting strangely at the crime scene.
Instead, Secrest told jurors, two sheriff's detectives, one of whom was later fired for backdating a search warrant in a murder case, decided to charge Sandra Melgar and stopped looking for evidence.
"There's no physical evidence that points to her at all," Secrest said, explaining that Jaime Melgar was stabbed and beaten about the head and body. "No broken nails, no problems with her hands, no bruising of the hands."
Prosecutor Colleen Barnett said Melgar was motivated to kill her husband and stage a break-in for a $500,000 life insurance policy.
She also said Melgar's religious beliefs as a Jehovah's Witness made her look for a way to get out of the marriage without a divorce, which would have left her ostracized.
Because a church friend testified that Jehovah's Witnesses believe dead people are "sleeping" until the Apocalypse, Barnett said Melgar may have taken her husband's death lightly.
"If I kill him, then I'm not ostracized — I get to hang out with my friends Â— and I get the money," Barnett said, imagining Melgar's thinking.
When it came to Melgar's hands, Barnett pointed to photos of Melgar's right hand which showed cloudy nails, saying she used a harsh cleaner or detergent after the bloody stabbing to clean up.
"This proves she's the one. That she did it," Barnett said.Â
Jurors began deliberating immediately after the closings in state District Judge Kelli Johnson's court.
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