Ignatow To Remain Jailed

Published: Mar. 21, 2003 at 4:21 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 28, 2003 at 2:22 PM EST
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(FRANKFORT, Ky., March 21st, 2003, 11:30 a.m.) -- Mel Ignatow, who was acquitted of torturing and killing his girlfriend but gained even more notoriety for admitting that he did it, lost an appeal of a perjury conviction Friday.

A three-judge panel of the Kentucky Court of Appeals disagreed with Ignatow's contention that his false testimony in a separate criminal trial was immaterial.

The case sprang from Ignatow's complaint that Dr. William Spalding, who had been the employer of victim Brenda Shaefer, threatened him in a letter.

Shaefer, who was Spalding's office assistant, disappeared in 1988. Ignatow said Spalding believed he was responsible and was trying to provoke Ignatow into leading him to her body.

Spalding was charged with terroristic threatening. At Spalding's trial in 1989, Ignatow testified that his relationship with Shaefer was "good" and that "everything was fine" when they last parted. Spalding was convicted and fined $300.

Afterward, another of Ignatow's former girlfriends, Mary Ann Shore, contacted the FBI, showed them where Schaefer's body was buried and secretly tape recorded Ignatow, who nevertheless was acquitted in 1991 of Shaefer's killing.

In another bizarre twist a year later, new owners of Ignatow's former residence found camera film and Schaefer's jewelry in a heating duct. The film was of Shaefer's gruesome killing. Ignatow then confessed to the killing and pleaded guilty to federal charges of lying and suborning perjury.

In Ignatow's current appeal, the appellate judges said Spalding would not have been convicted if Ignatow had not lied on the witness stand.

Judge David Barber of Prestonsburg wrote the opinion, joined by Chief Judge Tom Emberton of Edmonton and Judge Sara Walter Combs of Stanton.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)