Woman receives lighter sentence in murder trial

By: Paige Quiggins Email
By: Paige Quiggins Email

A Perry County woman facing life in prison might be out of jail in just more than a year. A jury found Sarah Melton guilty on charges that carry a much lighter sentence than murder.

Melton was found guilty, but mentally ill, of reckless homicide and assault. Cindy Caudill was killed and Bill Couch was injured during the shooting. Families on both sides were full of emotion in the Perry County courtroom on Tuesday.

“There are just so many dreams lost, dreams that I will never see,” said Jackie Caudill.

Cindy Caudill's son Jackie begged for justice to be served in the trial of Sarah Melton, the woman accused of murdering his mother.

When asked by the prosecutor what sentence he would encourage the jury to deliver, Caudill said he could not think of a true punishment comparable to the effects had by the family.

“I don't think there is any justification for taking another person's life, I would push for the maximum,” said Caudill.

Melton's family members said they do not want her children to live without their mother either.

“She has got babies of her own that needs her,” said her sister Renee Evans.
“They need their momma.”

The jury recommended a 6 year sentence for reckless homicide and assault and she could get out of jail sooner than that.

“These were actually the lowest that they could find her guilty of,” said Defense Attorney Gerald Teaster.

The jury also recommended Melton receive treatment for mental illness in jail. This is something the defense said caused her actions, after a long history of alleged abuse from family members, including her mother.

“She would jerk us around by the head of her hair, she would whoop us with mining belts, switches, whatever she could get her hands a hold of,” said Evans.

Prosecutors said that does not excuse Melton's actions.

“They grew up in the same situation that she did,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Teresa Combs Reed.
“But they are not on trial for murder.”

Melton's attorney said he believes her testimony made the difference.

“I think it is a tribute to her telling the truth on the witness stand,” said Teaster.
“She spoke the truth and the jury responded to it.”

Melton could be eligible for parole in a few months. Family members on both sides did not want to comment. Melton will be sentenced July 26th.

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