Thursday, September 9, 2010

Two Shots - Two Shotguns


The above are crime scene photos taken by FDLE. When I spoke with Detective Andy Crogan of the Lady Lake police department, he told me this FIRST SHOT was probably a FIRST ATTEMPT and the gun slipped.

Melinda had taken her grandfather's shotgun from its hiding place in the master bedroom closet. She placed the gun in its case on the master bedroom bed and left the empty case on the bed. She would have then had to go to the nightstand and remove the magazine (clip) from the TOP DRAWER. There was a fork on the floor next to the nightstand. Apparently she put the magazine in backwards. It was our theory that she got the fork to unjam the magazine and put it back in so it would operate.

The three birdshot shells in the magazine could NOT be expelled, because they were in backwards. Therefore, Melinda would have had to get the shotgun shells from the BOTTOM drawer of the nightstand. The box of #6 birdshot was STILL in the bottom drawer. There were 6 shells missing from the box of 25.

Then Melinda would have had to load ONE birdshot in the pump action gun and fire the shot. The FIRST SHOT went into the wall. She would then have had to load a SECOND shell into the chamber.

Detective Crogan also stated that they believed she shot the gun while standing up and using her toe. The trigger would have come up to her knee, she would have had to balance herself and then there's the "recoil".

The 12 Gauge Shotgun...

This is the FDLE agent removing the weapon from the crime scene. The FIRST shell is on the floor. The SECOND shell is still in the shotgun.

Melinda's shotgun...

Melinda's 20 gauge shotgun was unlocked (see yellow lock on seat) and on the floorboard of the backseat of her Eclipse - with the barrel facing the driver side.  It was loaded with one shell. She kept the shells in the hatchback trunk of her car.

While her shotgun was in the backseat of her car, Melinda's suicide notes were neatly placed on the center console of her car...the ones that Leesburg Police department didn't "find" until weeks later.

She also had $900 in cash (withdrawn from her bank account - not money from the church as Josh Duckett reported).  She also had $114 on her person when she was found and her laptop was on the front floorboard of her car under the box of Fruit Loops, along with her purse and clothes.

Also in my conversation with Detective Crogan, he stated that they thought Melinda wanted to commit suicide in her car, but that the gun was too big and she would not have been able to do it.

Among the items taken for review was Melinda's digital camera. On that camera she had pictures of a pet cemetery.
Melinda showed the pictures to her grandmother and stated how peaceful it was there. It is located in Marion County just north of McIntosh on the way to Gainesville, Florida on State Road 441, approximately 50 miles from the grandparents' home in the Villages.

So the questions remain the same.

Why would Melinda pay her car insurance a couple days before she died?

Why would Melinda decide to commit suicide using her grandfather's 50 year old gun that had not been shot in over 20 years, using #6 birdshot that had not been taken out of the box in over 20 years?

Why didn't she use her brand new 20 gauge shotgun that was already in her car loaded, along with her suicide notes already written and drive her car to the peaceful pet cemetery?

Where were Melinda's friends when she needed them?