COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - A verdict was reached Tuesday for the man accused of murdering a 27-year-old woman in Colorado Springs.
Jonathan Nelson was found guilty of first-degree murder for the death of Ashley Melnyczok. The judge then sentenced Nelson to life without parole plus a consecutive 15 years for his other crimes. Nelson was also found guilty of felony first-degree murder, second-degree burglary and vehicular eluding in a separate incident. Nelson was found not guilty in accessory to crime.
The victim's sister spoke in the courtroom Tuesday.
"Jonathan needs to appreciate his life still, because he can see his family," said Melnyczok's sister.
Melnyczok's husband also addressed the courtroom.
"Obviously the hardest thing I've ever had to face in my life," said Alan Kroth.
Nelson was arrested June 3, 2015 after a wild police chase in northern Colorado Springs. It wasn't until Nelson was in jail that police learned of Nelson's possible part in Melnyczok's death.
According to 11 News partner, The Gazette, Det. Jerry Chiffelbein's testimony in October of 2015 stated that the big picture began with a conversation in the Springs between Nelson, Joseph Kimsey, and a fellow inmate who was a witness at the El Paso County jail.
The fellow inmate reached out to police after the arrest and told Schiffelbein that the defendants in the murder case, Kimsey and Nelson, talked about robbing Melnyczok. They said Melnyczok worked as an escort and kept $20,000 in cash at her apartment.
During the jailhouse conversations, Nelson suggested that if he and Kimsey committed the robbery, they could not leave any witnesses. According to Schiffelbein's testimony of the interview, the former inmate said Nelson told Kimsey that if Melnyczok was at the apartment during the theft, they'd have to kill her. Kimsey agreed, noting that guns could not be used as firearms would be easily traced, according to Chiffelbein's testimony.
Prior to Nelson's sentencing, the prosecuting attorney said Melnyczok was making positive changes in her life.
The defense attorney had no prepared statements.