CARLISLE — A convicted murderer charged Tuesday with an additional murder while in prison allegedly told investigators he should get the death penalty, and said if he doesn’t, he would kill again.
Zachariah Melcher, 30, made the statement while confessing to killing his cell mate in the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility in Carlisle, according to court papers.
Melcher already is serving a life sentence without parole for the murders of three family members in Clark County. He was charged Tuesday with strangling his cellmate, Nicholas Roman, on March 7.
If Melcher is not put to death, a State Police officer investigating the prison killing wrote that he believes Melcher could target a prison staff member in his next attack.
“[Melcher] believes he should receive the death penalty for his actions and advised if he doesn’t, he would do this again,” Trooper T.C. Hanks wrote in a probable-cause affidavit.
According to Hanks, Melcher then stated ‘I don’t have any problems with staff yet,” which leads Hanks to believe Melcher could target a staff member next.
Melcher allegedly told police he killed Roman because Roman “kept stealing from him, going through his personal stuff, lying on his bed and watching his TV,” according to the affidavit.
Melcher told investigators that he choked Roman with his hands and believed he had killed him, then to make sure he was dead he strangled him with a laundry cord, the affidavit states.
After allegedly killing Roman, Melcher put Roman in his bed and covered him up with a blanket before packing some of Roman’s things, going to take a shower and talking with other inmates. He then dragged Roman’s body to the front of the officer’s desk.
He allegedly told the officer to “get him a box” and went back to his cell and threw more of Roman’s things out of the cell.
Roman, 28, had multiple major conduct offenses since his incarceration. Roman was serving time on Vanderburgh County convictions for performing sexual conduct in the presence of a minor, distribution of matter harmful to a minor and theft/receiving stolen property. He would have been eligible for release this August.
Melcher’s arraignment will be at 8:30 a.m. April 23 in Sullivan Superior Court by video conference. He has been in a single-cell segregation unit since the incident, according to Rich Larsen, public information officer for the correctional facility.
Melcher is serving two life sentences and a 65-year term for killing his pregnant wife and 11-month-old son in Jeffersonville. Police found the bodies stuffed into a Rubbermaid container about a week after the crimes.