The Justice Files: The fishpond murder

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – David Mead was hoping to get away with murder. He nearly did.

“Everybody said wow what a terrible accident,” said former prosecutor Howard Lemcke.  “What a really sad thing.”

It was August 1994 and Salt Lake City police responded to a 911 call from a distraught husband.  David Meade called for help after finding his wife, Pamela dead in their backyard.

“It was in the middle of the night and there’s a home dug fishpond in the backyard,” said former Salt Lake detective Jill Candland.  “The victim, Pamela Mead was lying outside of the fishpond.”

Salt Lake police secured the home at 582 North Center Street and began their investigation.

The home belonged to Meads.  She was an airline stewardess and Mead operated a janitorial business at the airport.

“Her husband, David had been seated in the back seat of a patrol car wrapped in a blanket,” recalled Candland.  “(He was) hysterical crying, couldn’t really interview him because he was so hysterical at the time.”

The forensics team photographed the scene and examined the area around the fishpond.  A medical examiner inspected Pam’s body, took measurements and analyzed her injuries.  She recently had foot surgery and was wearing special surgery boots on both feet.

Meanwhile, Candland finally got Mead to calm down and he explained what happened.

“David said he had gone to work and he came home and couldn’t find her,” she said. “He went out and saw her floating in the fishpond and he jumped in the fishpond to get her out and try to save her and was too late.”

The medical examiner determined it was an accident noting she “slipped and fell, hitting her head on rocks and drowned.”

Pamela Mead was buried at Mt. Cavalry Cemetery in Salt Lake City.  

But for Candland, something seemed off.  She recalled initial police reports indicated that Mead was dismantling the fishpond when police arrived.  She said it was destroying potential evidence and met with Lemcke, the deputy Salt Lake District Attorney to talk it over.  

“If David Mead would have realized how close he was to having it over with, the medical examiner ruled it was an accident,” said Lemcke.  “It was about to be put to bed and then David sent a bouquet of flowers to the detective.”  

Lemcke and Candland suspected Mead had murdered his wife.  Wednesday night, in part 2 of the fishpond murder, police and prosecutor set out to prove their theory.

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