Convicted Sex Offender Michael Mele Admits Killing Aspiring Brooklyn Dancer

GOSHEN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Convicted sex offender Michael Mele admitted Monday to killing a 25-year-old aspiring dancer who moved to Brooklyn from Texas to pursue her dreams.

Mele, 26, decided to plead guilty to manslaughter and evidence tampering in the death of Laura Garza before the start of his murder trial at Orange County Court.

Mele had previously pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Mele confessed to suffocating Garza in his Wallkill apartment after she became upset when she learned he had a girlfriend.

“She got upset — she started to get a little louder. I put my hand over her mouth and partially her nose, and shortly after that, she stopped yelling, stopped moving, and I realized something bad had happened,” Mele said.

He said he put her body in a laundry basket after killing her, drove to Pennsylvania and dumped her remains in the woods.

Mele will be sentenced on March 6. The judge has agreed to give him 23 years in prison on the manslaughter count and 16 months to four years for evidence tampering.

Several of Garza’s relatives who attended the court session weren’t satisfied with the decision.

A family friend said Garza’s mother, Elizabeth Esquivel, is upset with the deal and worried that Mele will be released before his term is completed.

“He’s getting 23 years in jail, and if you do good time you get less and that’s what she’s worrying about, that he doesn’t come out sooner than when he’s supposed to,” Awilda Cordero told CBS 2’s Lou Young. “She’s hoping that he does life in jail but you know that’s not going to happen.”

“It’s not justice,” Ivan Garza, the victim’s brother, said. He said his daughter may be Laura’s age by the Mele gets out of prison and is worried about people like him walking the streets.

Prosecutors said a surveillance camera captured Mele and Garza leaving the Marquee nightclub in Chelsea early on Dec. 3, 2008.

Police said they drove to Orange County where they were last spotted near Mele’s apartment in Wallkill.

Mele quickly became the prime suspect in her disappearance and prosecutors said he refused to talk about Garza as he became the focus of the investigation.

He was quickly locked up on a parole violation and a body check revealed scratches on his back and a possible bite mark on his finger.

During the investigation, police found patches of carpet had been cut away at Mele’s apartment. The evidence tampering charge alleges that Mele hid carpet fragments, a car mat and Garza’s body to prevent them from becoming trial evidence.

Garza’s skeletal remains were found near Scranton, Pennsylvania in April 2010. The cause of death has never been released.

Mele has had several sex-offense convictions in New York, most involving approaching women while masturbating. He was wanted in New Jersey for similar crimes.

Sound off on this case in our comments section below.

Comments

One Comment

  1. KIM OLIVO says:

    HE WAS A SICK MAN! SHE IS NOT TO BLAME HERE. YOUNG AND BEAUTIFUL, WE ALL MAKE WRONG CHOICES, BUT NO ONE DESERVES TO DIE! ALL U STUPID PEOPLE OUT THERE WHO BLAME HER, SHAME ON U! LET THIS HAPPEN TO SOME ONE CLOSE TO U AND SEE HOW YOU FEEL! MAY SHE REST IN PEACE AND HER FAMILY MAKE IT THROUGH THIS TOUGHT TIME!!!

  2. greg says:

    she was young, and when youre young you do stupid things. probably got caught up in the new york nightlife, wanted to take it for all it was worth, lesson to the other girls that come here. be cool, you can have a great time but going home w a guy the first night you meet him is a bad idea, in any city or country.

    1. KIM OLIVO says:

      YOUR SUCH A JERK! GOD FORBID THIS HAPPEN TO A FEMALE IN UR FAMILY AND SEE HOW YOU FEEL! THIS IS SOMEONES DAUGHTER, SISTER, AUNT AND FRIEND, HOW COLD HEARTED OF U! NO ONE EVER DESERVES TO BE MURDERED!!!

  3. Nyc says:

    Some Women are so stupid

    1. Dzkgjdfbg says:

      So I guess that’s what you would say to your mother if your sister was murdered. Insensitive prick.

    2. KIM OLIVO says:

      YOUR A JERK! NO ONE EVER DESERVES TO BE MURDERED!

  4. Ron Low, PhD says:

    This fiend shout have been locked up for life in regards to previous convictions and arrests. He is not safe to be in the public sector.

  5. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx says:

    Hey all you girls let this be a lesson to stay off the pole with strange men

    1. KIM OLIVO says:

      HEY U JERK! LET THIS HAPPEN TO SOME ONE U KNOW, SEE HOW U FEEL. NO ONE EVER DESERVES TO BE MURDERED!!!

  6. marlene says:

    This is NOT justice for this women’s family! Why only 23 years??? He will get out for good behavior, if they don’t off his ass, in possibly 20 or less? Where is the justice in this? Hopefully he will get what’s coming to him in jail!

    1. A "Going Postal" Worker says:

      Marlene – I TOTALLY AGREE!!!

      Someone fit this guy with cement shoes, and let’s dump him in NY harbor!

  7. Peter Schwarz says:

    She was so beautiful!

    1. BooHoo says:

      Beautiful? More like dumb. She just met the creep. She figures she would go and get her itch scratched. She was looking for trouble and she found it.

      1. t says:

        I agree_use your brains__dont trust anyone these days!
        Dont look for trouble and your safe!!

      2. KIM OLIVO says:

        UR AN ASS! DUMB OR NOT NO ONE DESERVES TO BE MURDERED!!!

  8. LF says:

    At least he saved the family of Laura Garza the agony of this trial. He should rot to death in jail, with his pants down for the other inmates

  9. Tracy O'Neill says:

    Castrate him .

  10. kevin says:

    Ladies, lets use common sense when you meet someone new!

  11. Liberals Are Evil says:

    The guy is indeed evil but I ask myself over and over…are women that desperate for a man that they go to his apartment the night they met?

  12. Big Nard says:

    This guy is beyond a creep.

Comments are closed.

More From CBS New York

Komen Race For The Cure
CAMPAIGN 2016

Listen Live