Schmelzer sentenced in child rape case

Staff Writer

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Tony Hazel sentenced 77-year-old Merlyn R. Schmelzer of Loon Lake to 93 months (7 years, 9 months) and up to life in prison today.
Schmelzer pled guilty to one count of first-degree child rape in Spokane County Superior Court on April 2.
The sexual abuse involved a young female victim, known to Schmelzer, and reportedly began in 2011. The sexual abuse continued over several years, occurring in Spokane, Stevens and Kittitas counties.
Schmelzer was facing a standard sentencing range of 93-123 months in prison minimum but was also eligible for a sex offender sentencing alternative (SOSSA). Hazel heard statements from the victim and her family who opposed the SOSSA option before rendering his sentence.
The Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) Indeterminate Sentence Review Board will review this case and determine if Schmelzer is suitable for release after the 93 months have passed.
If released from prison, will be on lifetime DOC supervision and must register as a sex offender for life.