The Australian weekly magazine, Who (the sister magazine to the US magazine People) has published the following article as a 'double-page' spread in last week's PRINT edition.
It appears that the article is based on the one that appeared in the US People magazine (see post above in this thread) BUT looks like it has been completely re-written.
WHO, Monday, September 25, 2017, print edition pages 52 and 53
A US jury finds Sandra Melgar guilty of fatally stabbing her husband for money - but she insists he was killed in a deadly home invasion
It was supposed to be a joyous party. Friends and family of Jaime and Sandra Melgar arrived at the couple’s Houston, Texas, home on Dec. 23, 2012, planning to help the couple celebrate their 32nd wedding anniversary. But once Jaime’s brother and his family let themselves inside the house through an open garage door, they instantly knew something was very wrong. They could hear a woman screaming for help, drawers were pulled out in the couple’s bedroom and jewellery boxes were strewn around the bathroom. Jaime lay in a pool of blood in the closet, dead from 31 stab wounds. The screams were coming from Sandra, who was in a separate closet, loosely bound by her wrists and ankles. She said she believed they had been victims of a home invasion, but that she had suffered a seizure and had no recollection of what happened. “It haunts me every day,” says the couple’s only daughter, Elizabeth Rose, 32. “I wish I had more answers.”
Authorities think they already have the answers - and that they all point to Sandra. During a three-week trial in August, prosecutors charged that Sandra, now 57, fatally stabbed her husband, Jaime, 52, with one of their kitchen knives and then staged a break-in so she could benefit from a $US250,000 life-insurance policy. On Aug. 24, jurors agreed and found Sandra guilty of firstdegree murder, sentencing her to 27 years’ prison. “There just isn’t any reasonable evidence that it was anybody else but her,” says Harris County district court chief Colleen Barnett. Sandra continues to maintain her innocence and her defence team plans to appeal her conviction. Her daughter is standing by her: “A gasp went through the courtroom when the verdict was read,” says Rose. “It was a complete shock.”
At the trial, prosecutors cited inconsistencies in Sandra’s story and introduced evidence suggesting Jaime was already dead when he was tied up. They also pointed to a cloudy fingernail on Sandra’s right hand indicating that she had used cleaning solution to wipe up evidence at the crime scene. But the defence counters that homicide detectives decided Sandra was guilty from the start and ignored leads - such as a swathe of blood on a safe - that may have pointed to other suspects.
Those close to the Melgars wonder how the couple’s 32-year marriage could end so violently. The pair lived a quiet, comfortable life, with Jaime working as a computer programmer for a school district and Sandra running her own medical billing and coding business. “They liked to go out and have dinner,” says Rose. “They’d hang out with friends. Sometimes they would stay at home and have drinks together and watch a movie. They evened each other out pretty well.”
So how could a seemingly perfect relationship end in murder? Even the prosecutors don’t have a concrete answer. “There were no disputes between them really,” says Barnett. “But when I listened to her statement to the police, I could tell that there were some sore spots.” At trial a witness testified that Sandra’s religious beliefs - the Melgars were Jehovah’s Witnesses - oppose divorce. “They were not allowed to divorce unless the spouse has committed adultery, which Jaime had not done,” Barnett says. “I think that was part of the motive.”
As the case heads to appeal, Rose says she will keep fighting to prove her mother didn’t kill her father. “They were happy together,” says Rose. “I feel like I have lost everything. I am always going to question this.”