It was an evening of wine and St. Anne’s cheese at the Maize Valley Winery in the Ohio Valley.
The occasion: a celebration of the Ohio Winery's tenth anniversary.
Owner Todd Melee took great pride in pouring his world-famous Big Red Pecker, the wine with the rooster on the label that tickles the palates of wine connoisseurs everywhere. Over the past decade, his small operation had built a record of supplying a quality product, but Melee's surly personality had produced more adversaries than advocates.
As the gathering broke up about midnight, Melee bade "farewell" to everyone and said he would stay around to turn out the lights.
But the next morning, it became deadly obvious that someone had planned lights out for him. Melee’s lifeless body was found at the bottom of the stairs that lead to the oak casks in the wine cellar. Someone had put the cork on Melee and taken action that would squeeze the winery's reputation.