Court Proceedings Continue For Those Charged in Melo Murder
By Kristin Forbis, Oct 13, 2020
The Guilty verdicts delivered by a jury to Kristy Lee Whitchurch in the 2018 Murder of Sherry Lynn Melo may be just the beginning of the trials to come in the case. Whitchurch was found Guilty on October 8th of 1st Degree Felony Aggravated Burglary, 2nd Degree Felony Aggravated Assault, and 1st Degree Felony Murder in the death of Sherry Lynn Melo. The court case continues, however, for 37-year-old Thomas Neil Tuinman, 35-year-old Stephanie Tuinman, 32-year-old Michael Wallace Tuinman, and 31-year-old Byron Rashad Thompson. Having entered pleas of Not Guilty on June 17th, Thomas Neil Tuinman is also awaiting trial on charges of 1st Degree Murder, Aggravated Burglary, and Aggravated Assault Targeting Law Enforcement. Last week on October 8th, a fourth charge faced by Thomas Tuinman of 1st Degree Forcible Sexual Abuse was Dismissed with Prejudice in 8th District Court. Stephanie Ann Tuinman also remains in custody on the Felony Murder, Aggravated Assault, and Aggravated Burglary charges in the Melo Murder case. Her most recent request for pretrial release was denied by the judge on October 8th stating that the court has “clear and convincing evidence that [she] would constitute a substantial danger to witnesses and to the community” if released. Michael Wallace Tuinman has a pretrial conference scheduled for October 26th and the jury trial scheduled to start December 8th. Also facing the Murder, Assault, and Burglary charges, Byron Rashad Thompson was scheduled back in May for a 7 day jury trial to start October 21st.