In Placerville: Father arraigned on murder charge
PLACERVILLE ” Charles Bailey, 50, the Shingle Springs man accused of attacking his girlfriend and killing their 2-year-old son over the weekend, declined to make a plea to the charges against him during his arraignment in court Tuesday afternoon.
In a barely audible voice Bailey told the court that he did not have money for an attorney, so a court-appointed public defender will be assigned in the next few days. Bailey will be expected to make a plea at a pre-preliminary hearing in late April.
Bailey faces charges of first-degree murder in the alleged kidnapping-death of Andrew Anthony Bailey, who would have turned 3 years old May 24. A special allegation was added to the murder charge for possible use of a deadly and dangerous weapon ” a screwdriver ” in the commission of the crime.
Bailey also faces a second charge of attempted murder for the alleged brutal attack of his 34-year-old girlfriend Merrily Melson with an ax inside the residence they shared behind Melson’s parents’ home in Shingle Springs. A third charge was added for the supposed spousal abuse that apparently led up to the ax attack on Melson.
The two special allegations of use of a deadly weapon will make it possible for Bailey to face the death penalty or life without possibility of parole if he is convicted of the alleged crimes.
Only one family member attended the arraignment: Merrily Melson’s supposedly estranged birth mother Elinor Melson. Elinor told the media in attendance that she was proud of her daughter. About Bailey, she said, ‘He doesn’t look like the menace he was the other day. He is a really small man in chains; he won’t be hurting anyone anytime soon.’
The tragic events began last Saturday shortly after 6 a.m. when Bailey reportedly attacked Melson, his girlfriend of about six years, with an ax inside the fifth-wheel trailer he shared with her and their son Andrew, according to El Dorado County sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Jim Byers. The trailer sits behind Melson’s parents’ home on Wild Turkey Road in Shingle Springs.
Melson reportedly escaped Bailey’s violent frenzy at about 6:50 and ran down the hill to a neighbor’s house even as her head and upper body were bleeding from numerous wounds. From the safety of the neighbor’s home, El Dorado County sheriff’s deputies were called to the scene.
Byers could not comment on what might have provoked the attack, saying only that the initial call for service to sheriff’s dispatchers mentioned spousal abuse in progress.
Responding deputies soon learned that Bailey had already fled the scene, driving a white 1995 Honda Passport, but not before he apparently abducted Andrew.
Paramedics from El Dorado Hills Fire Department Station 85 attended to Melson’s multiple wounds before transporting the 34-year-old to Mercy Hospital in Folsom. After her release, Melson returned to Shingle Springs to recover with her parents.
During their crime scene investigation, detectives found the ax reportedly used by Bailey to attack Melson, Byers said. Physical evidence of the crime aside, a preliminary investigation revealed that the suspect has had no run-ins with law enforcement or Child Protective Services in the past, no record of alcohol or drug abuse. In fact, there appears to be no clear motive for the events that took place that day, Byers said.
Convinced that Bailey had removed his child from the premises and that the boy’s life was in imminent danger, law enforcement agencies as far south as Los Angeles ” where Bailey apparently has relatives ” were immediately notified of the abduction. Meanwhile authorities issued a statewide Amber Alert at about 9 a.m. notifying the public to be on the look-out for the suspect and his vehicle.
‘Amber Alerts are not a common thing to initiate in our county,’ Byers said. ‘We issued the alert as quickly as our policies and procedures allowed. After this incident we will review our policies and procedures to see if we can streamline the process.’
An order was made to cancel the Amber Alert at 12:37, after Charles Bailey was apprehended, but the order was quickly rescinded and the alert was not actually canceled until after Andrew Bailey’s body was found.
Shortly after 11 a.m., detectives were contacted by friends who said that Bailey had called them. The phone number provided was tracked to a pay phone at a gas station in Sonora in Tuolumne County. Sheriff’s deputies there made contact with Bailey at the station, where the suspect reportedly threw a trash can at the officers before being subdued with a Taser and subsequently handcuffed, Byers said.
But little Andrew Bailey was nowhere to be found. Based on undisclosed tips, Amador County sheriff’s deputies found his body at about 6 p.m. in a wooded area behind a Kmart in Martell, about two miles west of Jackson.
An autopsy was performed on Andrew Monday afternoon but ‘due to the nature of this case, the Department of Justice is taking additional time with the report to make sure they do a very, very thorough job documenting everything that happened to our victim,’ Byers said.
El Dorado County sheriff’s detectives think Bailey murdered his son within 30 minutes of fleeing his Shingle Springs home before heading south into Tuolumne County, then dumped his body behind the Martell store on his way to Sonora.
Bailey, who worked as a computer technician at the Endwave Defense Systems facility in Diamond Springs, is being held in the El Dorado County Jail without bail. He is being housed separate from the general jail population, ‘mainly for his own protection,’ Sgt. Byers said. ‘Any suspect who hurts a child is way down on the jail pecking order; his life is at serious risk.’
Contact Denise Siino at (530) 344-5062 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org