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article imageNew Indiana next-of-kin law

By patxxoo     Jul 3, 2007 in Crime
New Indiana law now in effect July 1,2007. This "next-of-kin" law has came about because of the death of pregnant Christian Melcher,23, and her son Jaiden Melcher, 11 months, they were both murdered by her husband Zachariah Melcher.
An overview of the next-of-kin law that was in effect up until July 1, 2007 in Indiana basically stated that even if your spouse was convicted of murdering you or causing your death he/she still had automatic control over all your funeral arraignments. The family members had no rights or say in the matter whatsoever unless a release was signed by the living spouse.
On April 16, 2005, Christian Melcher, 23, who was 8 months pregnant was strangled to death and her 11-month-old baby boy was suffocated by a plastic bag being put over his face.
Zachariah Melcher,27, the husband and father of the victims admitted he had murdered them and stuffed them into a plastic storage container after they were found by the police who were acting on a missing persons report her father had placed.
In court he only wanted to speak to an attorney as he wanted to represent himself in court and he was seeking the death penalty, quickly.
“The only think I can think is that he’s gonna ask for the death penalty to make it quick. It’s pretty tough seeing as he’s my brother but you know, he did what he did. If he wants the death penalty, he deserves it,” says Jason Melcher.
On August 3, 2006 Melcher pled guilty to 3 Counts of Murder pursuant to a "Statement of Plea Agreement to Ensure that the Defendant is Never Released from Prison." He was sentenced by Judge Daniel F. Donahue to consecutive terms of Life Imprisonment with absolutely no possibility of parole on Count I, Life Imprisonment with absolutely no possibility of parole on Count II, and to a fixed term of 65 years imprisonment on Count III.
Linda Young who is the mother of Christian had to negotiate with her daughter and grandchildrens admitted murderer, as he refused to allow their bodies to be released until he was allowed to tell all the details of his murders to a family friend.
Eventually, Young said, her best friend listened for two hours as Melcher described the grotesque details of the killings and then signed the release to allow the bodies to be buried.
The new law that has gone into effect July 1,2007 in Indiana now states that widows/widowers suspected of causing the death of a spouse can no longer be in charge of funeral arrangements. Now that right goes to the family members of the deceased.
More about Felony, Crime, Police, Murder, Funeral
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