LIMA — Murder suspects in two unrelated cases have entered pleas of not guilty and will appear at pre-trial hearings scheduled in an Allen County courtroom for the same day next month.
Melvin Boothe and Michelle Alves will both return to court on Sept. 3 after entering pleas of not guilty to charges contained in indictments returned by the recent session of an Allen County grand jury.
Boothe, 29, was charged with aggravated murder, tampering with evidence, gross abuse of a corpse and possessing criminal tools in the death of 25-year-old McKenzie Butler, whose body was found this summer in Lima’s Martin Luther King Park.
Boothe and Butler lived together at 350 E. Eighth St., but Butler hadn’t been at work for weeks, starting May 26. Acting on a tip that Boothe might be linked to Butler’s disappearance, police obtained a warrant and searched the Eighth Street residence. They didn’t find Butler, but her belongings were there.
“There were muddy boots and shoes inside the residence,” Detective Brian Synder of the Lima Police Department said at the time. “There were receipts located that depicted shovels and a pick being bought at Walmart. There was also muddy bags, book bags. Copious amounts of cleaning solution inside the residence such as bleach, ammonia, and other cleaning supplies as well.”
Multiple pieces led police to Martin Luther King Park, a short walk from the Eighth Street residence. Using park trail cameras, police were able to see Boothe coming and going from the area.
“We began to work some grid patterns through the wooded areas and found a freshly overturned area, which was consistent with a possible burial site,” Snyder said. A suitcase and Butler’s body were dug up in the park. Police also say they have a recording of Boothe talking about what happened.
He remains in jail on a $1 million bond.
Alves, 31, faces two counts of murder, each with a firearm specification, in the shooting deaths of Charles and Tarissa Sanders on June 3 at a South Atlantic Street residence. She entered pleas of not guilty to the charges last week.
Investigators believe the double murder was over a stolen gun. Police say Alves shot Charles Sanders once in the head and then turned the gun on Tarissa Sanders, shooting her three times. Tarissa Sanders was found dead upon arrival and Charles Sanders died at a local hospital later that morning. Initial autopsy reports showed both victims died of gunshot wounds.
Alves and Clinton Owens Jr., 32, were arrested June 15 in Las Vegas as “persons of interest” in the June 3 shooting. Owens has been charged with having a weapon under disability.
Alves reportedly has admitted killing the couple. She, too, is being held in the Allen County jail under a $1 million bond.