Subject of New York Times Bestselling Author Steve Jackson’s True Crime Book SMOOTH TALKER, Murderer Roy Melanson, Denied Parole
He’s 80 years old, in poor health, confined to a wheelchair, and twice-convicted serial killer Roy Melanson believes he should be paroled to a nursing home to live out his remaining days on Medicaid. Besides, as he told a Colorado parole board on September 6, he didn’t commit the
murder that got him sentenced to life with the possibility of parole in a Colorado penitentiary. Nor, he said, are there any detainers from other jurisdictions that would prohibit them from setting him free.
These were just a few of the lies Melanson told the two board members present. Not unexpected for a man who lied and weaseled his way out of trouble for decades while he murdered women from California to Colorado to Louisiana and God knows where else.
Melanson claimed he did not murder Michele Wallace, a young woman who disappeared in August 1974 while returning from a backpacking trip near Crested Butte, Colorado. Melanson, who she’d picked up hitchhiking, was the last person seen with her. He was later in possession of her car and other items, including her camera on which he appeared in the last photo lying on a couch next to an unidentified teenager. But it wasn’t until a Gunnison County sheriff’s deputy began looking into the cold case in the early 1990s that Michele’s remains were located off a remote mountain road and Melanson was brought to trial and convicted.
As he did at his trial and since, Melanson argued to the parole board members that his conviction was illegal because a cause of death could not be determined due to the condition of Wallace’s remains. But he’s made the same arguments to appellate courts and been denied every time. He noted to the parole board members that he has a new appeal before the Colorado Supreme Court.
Melanson, who appeared via teleconference from a prison in Canon City, Colorado, also told the board members that there are no other detainers preventing his release. Apparently, he “forgot” he was also convicted and sentenced to life in 2011 for the 1974 murder of bar owner Anita Andrews in Napa, California. And that he’s been indicted for murder in Louisiana for the 1988 murder of Charlotte Sauerwin, which means he’d been held for Louisiana authorities if Colorado and California ever decide to release him. He’s also suspected of at least one, and possibly more, other murders.
However, the board members were well aware of Melanson’s long history of violence against women that includes rape and murder. When one of the board members brought up the detainers in California and Louisiana, Melanson had no answer except try to change the subject to his alleged Supreme Court appeal. The board members weren’t having it and took only a few minutes to deny Melanson’s appeal.
He’ll be up for parole again in five years. … If he lives that long.
For the story of Melanson’s depredations, and the incredible investigations that brought him to justice, read SMOOTH TALKER by Steve Jackson.