A man already serving a life-term in prison for a Colorado murder was sentenced to another life-term today for the first-degree murder of a Napa bar employee in 1974. Roy Melanson, 74, was convicted last month of killing 51-year-old Anita Elizabeth Andrews in Fagiani’s Cocktail Lounge in Napa on July 11, 1974.
The slaying happened 50 days before Melanson killed a hiker, Michele Wallace, 25, in Gunnison County, Colo. Napa County Deputy District Attorney Paul Gero said Melanson is having a parole hearing next year on the Colorado murder. “That’s why I wanted to prosecute this case,” Gero said. If Melanson is paroled in Colorado, he will be brought to California to serve his life term for Andrews’ slaying, Gero said. He then will be eligible for parole here in seven years.
DNA taken from a cigarette and towel in the bar linked Melanson to the murder, Gero said. Melanson was the last one seen in the bar, Gero said. Andrews’ sister Muriel Fagiani found her body in the bar’s stockroom the next day. She had been stabbed 13 times with a screwdriver during a sexual assault.
The defense argued someone else killed Andrews after Melanson left the bar around closing time. Melanson had committed sexual assaults before Andrews’ murder, Gero said. The jury deliberated less than two days before convicting Melanson last month after a two-week trial. “I’m gratified he’s not going to have any more murder victims,” Gero said.
Both of Andrews’ daughters submitted statements about how their mother’s murder devastated their lives and that of Muriel Fagiani, Gero said. “She (Muriel) spent 36 years looking for her sister’s killer. She died right before the trial, but she knew we had made an arrest,” Gero said.
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