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"I ain't going to tell you I am an angel," Reuscher says in an interview from Crossroads. "'Cause I ain't.... I hit him with a weightlifting bar. I was 18 years old; it was an assault."
According to O'Brien, Reuscher went to the bathroom. When he came out, Melton was astride Wood, beating his head with a fire extinguisher. "The murder was so brutal," says O'Brien, "that the coroner identified him with fingerprints." He says he believes Reuscher's blow was struck after Wood was already dead and that the beating with the fire extinguisher would have killed him.
Melton is now in prison on a first degree murder conviction with a life sentence without possibility of parole for his role in Wood's death. "My partner stabbed him, then beat him with the weights, a baseball bat, a TV, and the extinguisher," Reuscher says. "I shouldn't die for what he did. When Sean heard about my case, he came to me on death row. He said he could help me out, but I was sick of lawyers at the time. You see, lawyers say they can do this or that, but it ain't like on TV. This shit's for real, and I didn't believe him. Finally, Sean said if I didn't help him, he would subpoena me. He was that confident about my case.
"Sean and Kent are my guardian angels. My case required extraordinary effort. I accepted a plea of second degree with life without parole. I didn't want it, but Sean had some good perspective. There is nothing he can't do. I was on death row and am no longer there."
Reuscher says he didn't believe he would be executed -- until his inmate friends, one by one, went to the death chamber. "It was a miracle God sent Sean," he says. "I have 100 percent confidence in him. Everyone on death row was telling me to get him. Though he knew about my case, I didn't really believe he could do anything until I got to see him in action. He cross-examined my old lawyer and was like Sherlock Holmes. He knew every question to ask. He knows everything; he seems like Perry Mason. Kent too. He worked on my case behind the scenes."
O'Brien believes that one day, through the course of appeals, Reuscher will walk free.
wish we could have gotten Butch a better result," O'Brien says. "He is not an inherently dangerous person. But the photographs of Wood's smashed head would have struck such emotion in a jury that Butch could not have hoped to be acquitted.
"Butch's original lawyer was disbarred for tax evasion. But he was a drunk who took the case for too little money and did not do the work. Melton was the co-defendant and the murderer. His family was able to spend $100,000 on defense, and he got a good result. Butch's case was a bad case with a worse lawyer."
O'Brien shakes his head and goes on to explain Juarez's case.
Juarez and Ham left the quarry in Munsterman's car with Ham driving. About a quarter-mile out, Ham got the car stuck in a ditch. They got a ride into town with an Andrew County deputy sheriff about 5:30 the morning of Sept.15. Munsterman's car was found the next day, but since Munsterman had a parole violation, it didn't surprise authorities that he was nowhere to be found. His disappearance also did not alarm anyone. A hunter stumbled across his decomposed body the following November. The Andrew County Sheriff's Department began to put the pieces together: the abandoned car, Munsterman's disappearance, and the pedestrian check the deputy made the morning he picked up Ham and Juarez.