ORIENT — The Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office has identified an Orient couple as the victims of a double murder Saturday night on state Route 762 near the state prison complex.
Harry K. Butler, 68, and Eugenia Anderson, 62, were killed in the home they shared at 5386 Fairfield Road (Route 762) about 10 p.m. Saturday, victims of an apparent robbery by a neighbor.
The suspect, Michael S. Melrose, 41, shot himself in front of Pickaway County Sheriff deputies in the back yard of the home as they arrived in response to a 911 call from the residence. He was pronounced dead at the scene by Dr. Michael Geron, assistant county coroner.
911 records from the Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office, now Online at www.circlevilletoday.com, offer a chilling account of the minutes leading up to and immediately following the murders Saturday night.
In the first, received about 9:55 p.m., Anderson can be heard screaming, “Oh, my God! Oh, my God!” and telling someone, “I won’t tell on you, I promise.”
As she continues to plead with her assailant, dispatchers quickly order deputies to the scene. Then comes the sound of a male voice, believed to be Melrose, calmly saying, “Did you call 911? Did you call 911?”
Anderson continues screaming on the tape, and then muffled sounds can be heard before the line goes dead.
In the second tape, dispatcher Tonda Sollars calls back to the residence as at least three deputies make their way to the Orient address. A man believed to be Melrose answers the phone and calmly responds to Sollars’ questions as if nothing was wrong.
“We’re fine,” the man says. “We were having a little argument.”
The man identifies himself as “Harry” and gives the last name of “Finch” when Sollars presses for more information. Then she asks if there is anyone else at the residence.
“No, she took off down the road in her car,” he replies.
Sollars tells the man a couple of deputies have been dispatched to the scene as standard procedure in a 911 hang-up and instructed him to open the door and speak to them when they arrived.
“Are they here yet?” he asks.
“I believe they just pulled in.”
The man responds, “OK,” and the call ends.
When deputies Tracy Andrews and Shad Wright and Sgt. Timothy Carpenter arrived on the scene within minutes of the 911 call, they spotted Melrose leaving the back of the residence with an armful of long guns he appeared to be stealing.
According to Sheriff Robert Radcliff, deputies ordered Melrose to drop the weapons, which he did before pulling a pistol from the back of his waistband and shooting himself.
Butler was discovered in the front room of the home, bound and wounded but still alive, Radcliff said. He died in the Scioto Township ambulance en route to Mount Carmel West Medical Center in Columbus.
Anderson was discovered dead in a back bedroom of the home, also partially bound and a victim of gunshot wounds.
Investigators said Melrose knew the victims and had performed odd jobs for the couple in the past. He lived just a few houses away from the murder scene.
Radcliff said there were a variety of firearms in the home, and he believes Butler worked on guns perhaps as a hobby.
Robbery appears to be the motive for the murders, he said.
The incident remains under investigation by the Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Criminal Identification & Investigation (BCI).