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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.
A Special Forces veteran, publicly branded a poisoner, has broken his silence to tell the Sunday Mercury: “I did not kill my wife with weedkiller.” And Lieutenant Commander Robert McIntyre, who served the Royal Navy with distinction from 1963 to 1971, says the bombshell allegation will be the death of him. “This is going to see me off,” said the 72-year-old at his cluttered bungalow in Bloxwich, near Walsall, the oxygen machine wife Valerie used still prominently placed in the living room. “That’s it for me, that’s me finished.” Robert, raised on the Isle of Skye, spoke out after an inquest heard 88-year-old Valerie told family from her hospital deathbed: “That bastard has killed me.” She claimed that Robert, who became a long distance lorry driver after his military stint, had poisoned her with weedkiller, the hearing was told.
AUSTRALIA ASSASSINATION OF A COMPLETE WITNESS FAMILY. A disgruntled Jehovah's Witness whose family was killed in the Margaret River massacre has spoken of his children going to a "new system" after his tragic death. The bodies of the four autistic children of Aaron Cockman, Taye, 13, Rylan, 12, Arye, 10 and Kadyn Cockman, eight, were found on Friday at the family farm in Osmington, in rural western Australia. The youngsters, as well as Katrina, a separated couple of Mr Cockman, 35, and his mother Cynda, 58, are believed to have been shot dead by the children's grandfather, Peter Miles, 61. "My whole family has remained strong, we were all seated last night and it was not tears or tears ... it all smiled, laughed and joked," said Mr. Cockman, according to The West. Aaron Cockman, a Jehovah's Witness whose family was killed in the Margaret River massacre, spoke of his children going to a "new system" after their tragic deaths.
Mike MartindaleUpdated 6:11 p.m. ET Feb. 16, 2018 Keego Harbor Â— A quiet residential street became a horrific crime scene Friday with news that four people Â— a couple and their adult children Â— died in what police are describing as a triple murder-suicide. By late afternoon, some yellow police crime scene tape remained around the two-story wood frame bungalow in the 2300 block of Cass Lake Road where police were sent about 8:10 a.m. on a welfare check after a relative became worried about the family, Keego Harbor Police Chief John Fitzgerald said. One of four bodies is removed from the home of the 2300 block of Cass Lake Road.Â (Photo: Clarence Tabb Jr., The Detroit News) Â“A relative had concerns and asked us to look into it,Â” said Fitzgerald. Â“ItÂ’s tragic and our thoughts and prayers are with the family.Â” Inside the house officers found four bodies who neighbors identified as Daniel Stuart, 47, his wife, Lauren, 45, and their children, Bethany, 24, and Steven, 27. Fitzgerald said the Â“perpetratorÂ” was among the dead but would not provide details other than to stress Â“we think we know what happened here and there is no danger to neighbors.Â” Fitzgerald said police have recovered what is believed to be the murder weapon but would not elaborate. He said all the deaths remain under investigation. Keego Harbor Police Chief John Fitzgerald briefs the media on the murder-suicide.Â (Photo: Clarence Tabb Jr., The Detroit News) Neighbors John and Jackie Tristani said they awoke Friday to learn police were outside the victimsÂ’ home. Â“My son said police were repeatedly calling out Â‘Lauren, come outside,Â’ "Â said John Tristani. Â“When she didnÂ’t respond they (police) went inside. A few minutes later, they came back outside, shaking their heads.Â” Tristani said he had been watching television late Thursday night and never heard anything from the Stuarts' home. Sources close to the investigation said the family pet, a dog, was also slain by the killer. Investigators also found a note which may help explain what led up to the deaths. They would not discuss its contents. The deaths puzzle the Tristanis, who knew Lauren Stuart as a Â“hard-workingÂ” neighbor who could often be seen working in her yard and remodeled the house largely on her own. Â“She would often come over and borrow tools Â– a saw, a pickaxe Â– whatever,Â” said Tristani. Â“She was always doing something.Â” The Tristanis said in one of their first meetings with Lauren Stuart a few years ago she attempted to Â“recruitÂ” them into the JehovahÂ’s Witnesses. Â“I said we were Catholics and werenÂ’t interested,Â” he said. Â“She accepted the answer and it was the end of that.Â” Lauren Stuart worked at an area gym, he said, and her husband was involved in some form of medical business in the Ann Arbor area. Darlene and Dennis Buck, who live a block away on Cass Lake Road, said they were enroute home from a trip to northern Michigan when they learned of the murder-suicide. Â“We have lived here since Â’74 and nothing like this has ever happened in our neighborhood Â— not even close,Â” said Darlene Buck. Jackie Tristani said she found it all Â“scaryÂ” Â– not just the deaths but that something might have been going on in a neighborÂ’s home without her knowledge. She had tried to get Bethany a job at her workplace and her son knew both Bethany and Steven. There was never any mention or indication of trouble inside the home, she said. Â“I would hope that if there was a problem inside there someone would have reached out, we would have tried to help,Â” she said, her voice quaking. Â“Maybe we could have done something. Â“But you never really know everything there is about your neighbors, do you?Â”