Tonight, ABC News’ 20/20 will delve into the mysterious murder of Jim Melgar, whose nude and beaten body was found in a closet in December 2012. Just 30 feet away, his wife, Sandra, remained alive, tied up in rope. She has since been charged with his murder, and sentenced to 27 years in a Texas State prison.
In court, prosecutors argued that Sandra staged the crime scene to make it appear as if it was a home invasion. But a simple Google search will reveal that the case remains controversial today, with Sandra’s family and friends maintaining her innocence to this day.
Interested in learning more about the case, and Jim Melgar’s murder? Read on.
1. He Worked as an IT Specialist
Not long after high school, Jim and Sandra Melgar got married and began their careers.
Jim worked as an IT specialist. According to ABC News, the couple were members of Jehova’s Witnesssess, a “Christian sect that demands adherence to strict rules of behavior.”
While Sandra was a nurse, she was riddled with illness, from lupus to epilepsy and hypothyroidism.
According to a friend of the family’s, Jim spent hours each day researching his wife’s diseases. “There were times that she didn’t feel safe driving. She was afraid that her seizures might come on … so she depended on him for a lot of day-to-day activities.”
2. The Couple’s Daughter Believes Her Mother Is Innocent
Jim and Sandra’s daughter, Elizabeth “Lizz” Melgar Rose, maintains that her mother is innocent. She tells ABC News’ 20/20, “I know that she did not do this… I’m going to continue to fight until we can prove that.”
Family and friends also believe that Sandra is not guilty of her husband’s murder. To date, a Facebook group titled, “Free Sandy Melgar” has over 1,000 followers.
Rose tells ABC News, “In the end, I still want justice for my dad. I want to know who did this, and it was not my mother.”
3. He Was Found with More Than 50 Stab and Blunt-Force Injuries
On December 23, 2012, the Melgar’s planned on having a family get-together.
When Herman Melgar, Jim’s brother, arrived at the house around 4:30pm, he said that no one answered. He proceeded to go through the garage, and enter the house, where his daughter told him, “This doesn’t feel right.”
He then heard Sandy calling for help from a closed room. He found her in the master bathroom walk-in closet, which had been blocked by a chair. He then found his brother, dead, 30 feet away. According to ABC, his legs were tied with a telephone cord and a rope was tied loosely around his chest.
During her interrogation, Sandy struggled to recall what had happened but said that she did remember being followed by a mysterious car after they left the CVS parking lot earlier that evening.
When the couple arrived home, they proceeded to hop into the jacuzzi. Jim eventually got out when he heard the dogs barking inside. Sandy then told authorities, “He just was taking a while so I got out and was going to get dressed, or change in my closet. I went in there and I started to change and that’s all I remember until I woke up…”
4. Prosecutors Argued That Jim’s Life Insurance Policy Was a Likely Motive for Murder
According to People, prosecutors pointed to Jim’s $250,000 life insurance policy as a likely motive for murder.
Harris County, Texas, prosecutor Colleen Barnett told People, “She [Sandra] told a story that didn’t make sense… It didn’t add up and the jury didn’t believe it.”
Barnett also argued, in court, that Sandra had planned the entire ordeal. “I think those details had been worked out before that day,” she said.
After the verdict was read aloud, Rose told the press, “I am pretty outraged and pretty upset… This has been a huge miscarriage of justice. I never thought it would get this far, I didn’t think she would ever be convicted. I thought she had a fantastic shot of having this dismissed and here we are.”
5. Sandra Says She ‘Doesn’t Feel like He’s Really Gone’
In a recent interview with WFAA, Sandra shared, “Sometimes I think I’m going to go home. I still think, ‘I want to tell him this,’ and I forget he’s gone… I don’t feel like he’s really gone; I just feel like he’s temporarily gone or just on a trip out of town. I try not to think of… I know I will see him again.”
Sandra, who remains at a state prison in Texas, still maintains contact with friends and family, including her daughter, Rose.
WFAA reports, “Sandra writes letters to friends, who give her updates on her Pomeranian, Lola, who was in the house the night of the murder. Most weekends, she spends two hours visiting with a rotation of friends and family thanks to one of her best friends who coordinates the weekly visits.”
Be sure to tune into ABC News’ 20/20 tonight to learn more about the case.