Warning: this story contains graphic material related to an attempted murder case.
COVINGTON, La. (WGNO) — More than four years after being arrested, a St. Tammany Parish man has been charged in a case that one deputy said was the bloodiest scene he had ever witnessed.
On Thursday, a jury found 38-year-old Rudy Emanuel Melerine guilty after it was reported that he brutally attacked his parents with a hammer.
The case dates back to June 20, 2017, when St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to the family’s home in Folsom in the early morning hours. When they arrived, police found Melerine’s mother in the driveway, bleeding from severe injuries to her head and face.
Court documents say she then showed the deputies to a back bedroom, where Melerine was attacking her husband. Melerine was reportedly crouching over his father in a pool of blood, his father working to prevent the suspect from grabbing a hammer that was wrestled out of Melerine’s hands.
One deputy later testified the room was “the bloodiest he had ever seen.”
Police were able to restrain Melerine, taking him into custody. His parents were transported to an area hospital where they were treated for multiple injuries to the head and face.
During the trial, both victims testified that their son had made comments to them the night before, indicating he was angry or resentful against them and that he was possibly on drugs. Melerine’s father told the courtroom that his enraged son proclaimed himself as Michael the Archangel and that the victims should “prepare their souls for heaven.”
Melerine’s mother testified that she and her husband were sleeping when the defendant broke into their locked bedroom. She woke up to the sound she described as being similar to “a hammer smashing a coconut.” Realizing it was the sound of her son beating her husband with a hammer, the woman tried to stop him. He then turned his attention to her, striking her multiple times.
However, Melerine’s father was able to stop his son from striking his son again, which allowed her to call the police.
“He was going to save his wife,” ADA Luke Lancaster said in court. “He was a hero.”
The 15-minute 911 call from Melerine’s mother was played in court, in which she was heard pleading “Oh, God! Get somebody here quick. My son just went bonkers on us. Oh, God! My son is going nuts on us. Oh, Hurry, please! Oh, God! Just get somebody here!”
Melerine’s attorneys asked the jury to find the defendant guilty of the lesser charge of Aggravated Battery. They argued that because his judgement was likely impaired by drugs and that he used a hammer rather than a more lethal weapon like a gun, Melerine did not have the “specific intent to kill” his parents.
However, in a closing statement, ADA Blake Peters said that although more lethal weapons were available in the home, Melerine decided to use a more “enjoyable, intimate, less quick” method to kill and that he was was undoubtedly in control of his actions.
“There is a line and he didn’t just cross that line, he was light-years across it,” Lancaster argued.
After 40 minutes of deliberation, the jury unanimously found Melerine guilty of two counts of attempted first-degree murder. The Department of Justice reports Melerine could face 10 to 50 years for each count, without the benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.
Melerine is scheduled for sentencing on January 19, 2022.