|Trinity Standard - Local News
Copyright 2012 - Polk County Publishing Company
Child molester sentenced to 130 years
Trinity Standard -
TRINITY – Three consecutive prison sentences totaling 130 years were handed to Jeffie Melder, 34, of Groveton last week. Melder was convicted on Aug. 8 by a Trinity County jury on three child molestation-related charges but chose to have 411th District Judge Robert H. Trapp impose the sentence. Sentencing was delayed until last week to give probation department officers time to prepare a pre-sentencing investigation report for the judge. On Oct. 16, Trapp sentenced Melder to 60 years in prison on his sexual assault of a child conviction, 60 years for his sexual performance by a child conviction and 10 years on an indecency with a child conviction. Melder was originally indicted on the charges in October 2011, all of which involved an eight-year-old boy. Normally, those given multiple sentences are allowed to serve them at the same time. However, Trapp ordered that Melder’s prison terms run consecutively. This means he would have to complete his time on one charge before the clock begins ticking on the next. According to Assistant District Attorney Bennie Schiro, if Melder were granted the earliest possible parole on each of the three charges, he would have to serve at least 65 years in prison. Schiro noted after Melder was convicted in August, the district attorney’s office presented punishment evidence consisting of two of Melder's relatives that he had molested several years earlier. Melder had never faced charges for those crimes because the victims did not come forward until they heard of the latest complaints. The punishment ranges for the charges were 5-99 years or life on the first two counts and 2-20 years for the third count.