LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Mel Ignatow, the man who admitted to killing his girlfriend, Brenda Sue Schaefer in September of 1988 after being acquitted of the crime, was found dead in his home on Carrier Court Monday morning. WAVE 3's Caton Bredar reports.
Although Ignatow was acquitted of murdering Schaefer, pictures showing her being tortured and killed surfaced six months later, and Ignatow served time in state and federal prison for perjury.
To Anthony Allen, an upstairs neighbor who discovered Ignatow's body, Ignatow was a sick and elderly man, alone and struggling for help when he apparently stumbled to his death. "I used to hear him all night, asking for Jesus to come get him, because he was in a lot of pain."
"It just looked like he had fell and hit his head on the table," Allen said. "And he tried to go to the kitchen, and there was a blood trail that way, and then it looked like he tried to make it to his room, before he made it to his room, that's where they found his body at."
Regardless of whatever pain Ignatow may have suffered in his final moments, many, like Kim Bennett, a friend of the Schaefer family, can think only of the pain he caused others. "He was just a big monster in a family. God forgive me, but I'm so glad he's where he needs to be."
In 1991, Ignatow was found not guilty on charges of sexual abuse, torture and murdering his former fiancee, Brenda Sue Schaefer.
But months later, contractors laying carpet in the home where Ignatow lived when Schaefer was killed found undeveloped film. The film contained pictures of Ignatow and another girlfriend, Mary Ann Shore, torturing and killing Schaefer.
After the pictures surfaced, Ignatow admitted he was guilty, but because of double jeopardy laws, he couldn't be tried again on the same charges.
Ignatow spent nearly 11 years behind bars on perjury charges - for lying under oath when he said he didn't kill Schaefer. He was also convicted of lying in another case involving Schaefer's employer.
Even though Ignatow spent time behind bars, Ignatow's son, Michael Ignatow says that, in the public's eye, "to be acquitted in that first trial, and then to have the evidence actually show up 11 months later, you know, it's like a slap in the face to the community."
Michael Ignatow admits that his father's sins may never be forgiven. "He will probably go down as one of the most hated men in Louisville."
Michael believes his father's death was an accident. "Apparently, he fell and hit a glass coffee table and, from what I can tell, he cut his arm."
Now he hopes his father's death will help people forget some of his transgressions.