New details emerge in Melanie Pate murder case

September 10, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Melanie Pate was found in the backyard pool at the couple's Hanford home. Prosecutors say her husband tortured her.

Actions News obtained divorce papers filed in the Kings County courthouse just five days before Melanie Pate was killed. Her husband, Todd Pate, called in the crime and is being held on murder charges at the Kings County Jail.

The document shows Melanie filed for divorce based on irreconcilable differences. She painted Todd as controlling and manipulative towards their 12-year-old son. As part of the divorce Melanie asked for spousal and child support, their house, and majority custody of their child.

"She wanted the house which she required for child care business and she didn't make enough money to support a house of that size on her own so she required assistance from him to maintain the house," said Larry Crouch, Kings County Assistant. District Attorney.

Melanie Pate was found dead in the couple's backyard pool with her throat slashed back on September 2nd. Prosecutors charged Todd Pate with murder, adding a special allegation for torture-because they say he used multiple weapons when he attacked her.

Tuesday, at the home they once shared, a memorial of candles with Melanie's picture is growing. The District Attorney's Office says the divorce which Todd had been served the papers for, just a few days prior, was the reason behind the killing. "They'd clearly been discussing them. They were undoubtedly, unquestionably the reason for the arguments they had that weekend."

Action News reached out to Melanie's divorce attorney, Cathy Westlund, but she declined to comment. Prosecutors also say the divorce papers were found in an important place in the couple's house. "When the house was searched the divorce papers were found on the floor of the room that was designated as Mr Pate's office."

In the divorce papers, Melanie also asks that Todd not call their son more than once a day because she claims he was calling him incessantly, and trying to manipulate him. Todd Pate will be back in court this Friday.

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