GROVETON, TX (KTRE) - A Groveton man faces life in prison after a jury found him guilty of participating in sexual intercourse with his wife and an eight-year-old boy.
According to Trinity County District Attorney's Office Investigator Travis Haygood, the suspect, Jeffie Melder, 35, was with his wife when they brought an eight-year-old boy into the room and they both had sex with him.
The jury found Melder guilty on charges of aggravated sexual assault of a child, sexual performance by a child and indecency with a child on Wednesday. District Judge Robert Hill Trapp will hold a sentencing hearing on Oct. 16.
Haygood said Groveton Police began the investigation after Melder called an 800 hotline to report the crime, without trying to implicate himself. Haygood said Melder learned his wife, Shelly Melder, 31, had told another woman about the incident, so he attempted to get ahead and turn her in before she could turn him in.
Haygood said he took over investigating the case because of staffing issues in Groveton. Lufkin Police assisted in a computer forensics investigation. That is when Haygood learned that while Melder worked on a tugboat overseas, his wife would have men and women over to her house so she could have sex with them and livestream it for him on the boat.
After Melder was arrested in November, the victim was taken to a child advocacy center in Texarkana for a forensic interview and counseling. The counselor testified in the trial that the child was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.
Acting Groveton Police Chief Reggie Olive, CPS Investigator Cali Little, Nurse Kendra Dewberry, Haygood and others also testified in the trial. The child gave testimony through a pre-recorded video.
Trapp began the sentencing phase of the trial and heard evidence from two of Melder's cousins, who said Melder had done sexually inappropriate things to them several years earlier.
Haygood said Shelly Melder agreed to plead guilty in exchange for her own testimony in the trial. He said the plea includes prison time. Her formal plea announcement will come at a later date.