Man sentenced to 50 years for 2005 murder

March 2, 2009 12:34:21 PM PST
An El Sobrante man was sentenced to 50 years to life in prison today for killing his girlfriend in 2005 and stuffing her body into the trunk of his car.

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Scott McAlpin, 28, was convicted in December of first-degree murder for strangling 22-year-old San Francisco resident Anastasia Melnitchenko on Oct. 22, 2005.

A strike for prior convictions for assaulting Melnitchenko with force likely to cause great bodily injury doubled the statutory first-degree murder sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

McAlpin was arrested the day after the murder when U.S. Park Police found him drunk in his car in the Marin Headlands with Melnitchenko's body still in the trunk.

Prosecutor Dara Cashman argued during trial that McAlpin was a jealous, controlling man who had abused Melnitchenko throughout their five-year relationship and then killed her in "a horrific but planned solution to his jealousy and paranoia."

McAlpin's attorney Barney Berkowitz argued that Melnitchenko had provoked him and he killed her in the heat of passion.

At the time of the murder, Melnitchenko had an active restraining order against McAlpin, the 12th restraining order against him she had been granted, but had continued to talk to him and the couple had just spent the weekend together celebrating McAlpin's birthday.

McAlpin's father, reading from a prepared statement, said during the sentencing hearing in Contra Costa County Court in Martinez today that their family believes McAlpin was a good person and that he had always taken responsibility for his actions.

"We truly believe that what happened between Scott and Annie was not a premeditated act," McAlpin's father said.

He told Melnitchenko's family that his family was sorry for the sorrow and loss McAlpin had caused them.

Berkowitz read a statement McAlpin had written that said he was deeply sorry for hurting Melnitchenko's family and his own family and apologized for taking Melnitchenko's life, which he said he recognized was " an unforgivable act."

"Anastasia was a very special person ... she was an extremely outgoing and intelligent person," the statement read.

"If you can hear me, Anastasia, I want you to know that I'm sorry. Please have mercy on my soul," the statement said.

Melnitchenko's family also wrote letters describing the impact the murder had on them, but they were not read in open court.

A group of domestic violence advocates from San Francisco attended the hearing, but declined to comment.

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