Joseph Kimsey and Jonathan Nelson are behind bars for the murder of Ashley Melnyczok, whose body was found inside her north side home in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
In June 2015, one of Melnyczok’s friends went to her apartment at the Grand River Canyon Apartments for a welfare check when she hadn’t been seen or heard from in days.
After knocking several times and getting no answer, the friend decided to leave.
When he returned 10 minutes later, he broke into her apartment, and that’s when he found Melnyczok’s blood-covered body on her bedroom floor.
Melnyczok, 27, had a bag taped over her head, and she had been bludgeoned and stabbed to death.
“She died a horrible, horrible death,” said prosecutor Martha McKinney.
Days later, Nelson was arrested and charged with second-degree murder following a three-mile police chase that ended in a crash.
During a search of his mangled vehicle, officers found a machete, zip ties, tarps, and a large bag, along with other items, according to KKTV 11 News.
It was reported that Nelson was returning to the scene of the crime to dispose of the body.
That same month, Kimsey was arrested in Cañon City after he was spotted driving the victim’s car.
He was booked into the Fremont County Jail, where he was held without bond.
Kimsey was charged with first-degree murder.
Police learned through an investigation that Kimsey and Nelson met while incarcerated at the El Paso County Jail, weeks before Melnyczok was murdered.
They were cellmates and had bonded over their experience in the military.
It was during that time that Kimsey, who was married, told Nelson that Melnyczok, whom he dated on and off, had $20,000 in cash, which she allegedly obtained through her work as an escort.
He said she kept it in a safe under her bed at her apartment.
The plan was to break into Melnyczok’s home and rob her. Nelson agreed, but he said if she was there during the robbery, they would have to kill her because he didn’t want any witnesses.
He also stated that he didn’t want to use guns because they could be easily traced.
During the trial, Nelson’s defense attorney contended that he had nothing to do with Melnyczok’s murder and that it was Kimsey who acted alone when he killed her in a “fit of passion.”
The attorney went on to say that Melnyczok was pregnant with his child, and when Kimsey learned that she had an abortion, he became enraged.
He also stated that Kimsey was upset that she was continuing to sleep with other men for money.
Kimsey’s defense attorney also claimed that he was innocent of the crime.
Authorities found Nelson’s bloody fingerprints on a bag that was located inside Melnyczok’s apartment.
They also found touch DNA belonging to Nelson on a knife.
Kimsey’s DNA was found on a blood-splattered shirt that had been neatly folded next to a hat and shorts with its belt still in the loops.
After the murder, a witness saw Kimsey at Angler’s Covey in Colorado Springs with scratches and bruises, and he had a lot of money.
He paid a woman $1,000 in $100 bills for posting his bail.
The court also heard recorded conversations between Kimsey and Nelson that were incriminating.
In February 2017, a jury deliberated for less than two hours before finding Nelson guilty of first-degree murder.
He was subsequently sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole.
The following month, Kimsey was also found guilty of the same charge, and he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.