Sandra Melgar was convicted of killing her husband, Jaime "Jim" Melgar, in December 2012, the night they celebrated their 32nd wedding anniversary. Investigators believed she stabbed him, staged a crime scene and then tied herself in a closet. In August 2017, Sandra is currently serving a 27-year prison sentence for his murder.
So, why are there so many questions about her guilt? Sandra's family, her friends, even Jim’s family all agree: She didn’t kill her husband.
For the past six months, reporters Grace White and Matt Keyser have investigated the case against Sandra. White and Keyser have spent painstaking hours trying to answer that question. We’ve read through hundreds of pages of reports by investigators, paramedics and the medical examiner. We’ve watched hours’ worth of Sandra’s interrogation (see below) and sorted through hundreds of crime scene photos. We’ve met family and friends, some of whom have never shared their stories.
Join the conversation as reporters White and Keyser discuss the murder case against Sandra. (On mobile, tap here.) See more about the case below.
Could Sandra have tied herself up?
Prosecutor Colleen Barnett demonstrates how she believes Sandra did it. But Jim's family, who found Sandra tied up in the closet, says to this day there's no way that Sandra could have done it herself.
How could Sandra have locked herself in the closet?
As Sandra was taken in for questioning, crime scene investigators re-enacted how she would have locked herself in the closet. Investigators believe she used a pillow sham to pull the chair towards the door. But Jim's family, who found Sandra tied up in the closet, said there was no pillow sham under the chair when they found her.
Watch: Sandra Melgar's interrogation
As crime scene investigators processed her home, Sandra was taken in for questioning, where detectives grew suspicious of her story. In this snippet of her interrogation, Sgts. Shawn Carrizal and James Dousay question if she killed her husband.
Watch: The murder case against Sandra Melgar
Sandra Melgar is serving 27 years in prison for stabbing her husband the night they celebrated their 32nd wedding anniversary. Why are there so many questions about her guilt?
Podcast: Season 2 of 'Missing Pieces' dives into Sandra Melgar case
In this six-part podcast, you’ll hear from Jim’s brother, Herman, who found Sandra in the closet; the prosecutor, Colleen Barnett, who tried the case; the jury foreman, who will take us through the jury’s deliberations; and hear from Sandra herself in her first and only interview since Jim’s murder. You can listen or subscribe to 'Missing Pieces' on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify or Podbean.
Read: She was convicted of murdering her husband. Did she do it?
There are nights when Sandra Melgar is lying in bed in her six-by-ten-foot prison cell, the loud hum of fans not far away, when she thinks back to where her life went wrong. Sandra never imagined she would be widowed and a suspect in her husband’s murder, never believed a year and a half after his death that a grand jury would quietly indict her, and almost five years after his death a jury would convict her on circumstantial evidence—no clear motive or physical evidence linking her to the crime—and sentence her to 27 years in prison. For Sandra, now 59, every day since her husband’s death has been a nightmare.
Timeline: The murder case against Sandra Melgar
Jim Melgar was found murdered in his bedroom closet in December 2012. Sandra was found tied up in her closet, with no recollection of what happened the night before. Nearly five years after his death, Sandra was convicted of his murder.
Photos: Crime scene at the Melgar house
Crime scene investigators took photos of Sandra, Jim's family, and inside the Melgar home.