WATCH: Coffee pot poisoning case videos raise questions

The video shows an airman testing his coffee maker and recording his wife pouring something into it
Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 7:27 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - The video that made the coffee pot poisoning case, captured by a Tucson airman of his wife, can now be watched by the public. But her life could depend on how reliable the court and the jury consider it to be.

A Tucson defense attorney not affiliated with the trial offered his opinion on what could still be questioned here.

The Tucson airman found his coffee tasted strange six months ago. His video attempts ultimately resulted in multi-camera recordings to follow what she was doing.

“I can literally smell this. I can see it sudsed up,” the airman can be heard in one video as he cleaned the coffee maker after testing it for chemicals.

A Tucson airman spent weeks testing his coffee maker for chemicals and recording his wife pouring something into it.

“Tonight’s the night I caught her,” the airman can be heard on one of the videos before he tests the water with a pool strip.

But he did not have enough evidence until he set up three cameras: one in the laundry room where the bleach was kept, one from the laundry room to the coffee maker, and one over the coffee maker.

Two different sequences show her pouring from a bleach container into a cup, walking the cup from the laundry room to the coffee maker, and then pouring the contents of the cup into the coffee maker.

Tucson police then arrested Melody Feliciano Johnson.

“It’s surprising to see that type of video. I have not seen a case with that, with these set of facts in my career,” said Louis Fidel, who has practiced criminal defense since 2007.

The earlier videos from May and the videos of the airman testing the water in the coffee maker created questions for Fidel.

“Is it the same strip, is it the same pitcher of water? Because there are moments in the video where both, one or the other, are off-screen,” Fidel said.

And the later videos in July that follow Melody Johnson from the laundry room to the coffee maker will likely also be scrutinized.

“How do they determine that video A links up with video B links up with video C, those would be things that I’m sure people look at,” Fidel said.

Johnson is charged with domestic violence-- attempted first-degree homicide, domestic violence--attempted aggravated assault, and adding poison to food or drink.

Police reports say the airman says she did it to collect his death benefits while she says he sexually assaulted her when they lived in Germany. What is presented in court will be determined before the trial starts.

“First reaction is that it’s just a tremendously sad scenario,” Fidel said.

Johnson refused to an interview from jail. The Pima County Attorney’s Office says it cannot comment on the case but that an experienced homicide prosecutor who runs the domestic violence unit received the case.

The next court appearance is in early November.

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