Reno Man Found Guilty of 1st Degree Murder
Sentenced to 50 Years for Fatal Child Abuse

Media Release
For Immediate Release

Contact: Kendall Holcomb
775-328-3223 (o)

District Attorney Chris Hicks announces that after a two week trial, a jury has found a Reno man guilty of murder in the first degree and sentenced him to 50 years in prison with parole eligibility commencing in 20 years.  

The case against Craig Melzo began on April 3rd of 2020, when officers with the Reno Police Department were dispatched to an apartment on a report of an infant, named Zayden, experiencing breathing complications. Zayden, who was approximately 2 weeks old, was taken to Renown where medical staff attempted life-saving measures and conducted diagnostics. Scans detected that Zayden was experiencing multiple brain bleeds and retinal hemorrhaging, indicating significant trauma. Despite constant medical efforts by hospital staff, Zayden succumbed to his injuries on April 7th.  

During the investigation, multiple medical professionals determined that the abusive head trauma that Zayden suffered was the result of child abuse. Through their investigation, detectives with Reno Police Department discovered that Craig Melzo, Zayden’s father, was responsible for his son’s death.  

Throughout the trial, medical experts that testified on behalf of the state shared that the internal damage done to Zayden was some of the worst they had ever seen in their careers.  At sentencing, Deputy District Attorney Nicole Hicks highlighted the extreme and catastrophic trauma Zayden experienced at the hands of his father and argued for the maximum sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

The Honorable Judge Scott Freeman presided, with the defense choosing to have the jury impose the sentencing.  

Call 311 to find resources, ask questions, and utilize Washoe County services. Learn More »
Call 311 to find resources, ask questions, and utilize Washoe County services. Learn More »