Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Michael Alig: The Life and Death of the Party

I Heard it Through the Grapevine

There are two ways to deal with a homicide for which one might be suspected: leave town, and disappear off the face of the earth, or hide in plain sight.

It would appear that Alig chose the latter, at least at first. But in clubland, people gossip.

Michael Alig
Michael Alig

Alig held parties at his apartment while the corpse rotted in the bathroom. Using Melendez's money, he bought new furniture, fancy neo-classical chairs and chandeliers, and redecorated his whole pad, which had been completely cleaned of any blood or evidence, which would later be inferred to mean that he'd had some professional assistance. The new look of the apartment astonished his friends who knew what Alig's apartment normally looked like — a filthy drug den. They also noticed a weird smell coming from the bathroom. One person even saw an arm dangling out of the tub, but mistakenly thought it was just another, passed-out, partygoer.

Alig's mania for shock and self promotion proved relentless, though. He started to tell people that he'd killed Melendez. He tried earnestly to tell his old friend and longtime club fixture James St. James, who partially believed him at first, and later knew it to be the truth. Alig would confess to many people in the club scene including Jenny Talia and Screamin' Rachel, a house music singer, but most people didn't know whether to believe him, or to dismiss the confession as another of Alig's sick club pranks. There were rumors that he was going to have a Welcome Back Angel party, too.

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