Police found large tactical knife, other evidence in truck of suspect in teacher’s murder

CLEVELAND -- Police found a large tactical knife that tested positive for the blood of a slain Strongsville teacher inside the pickup truck of her accused killer, according to court documents.

Jeffrey Scullin, 20, appeared before a judge Friday morning on charges of aggravated murder, murder, felonious assault, tampering with evidence and making false alarms in connection with the October 23 death of Melinda Pleskovic, 49.

Court documents also state Scullin used a .357 revolver in the murder.

He was ordered held on a $1 million bond and a preliminary hearing was set for November 13.

Pleskovic, who taught 6th grade, died of gunshot and stab wounds.

Court documents state officers found a large knife under items on the back seat of Scullin's truck, and its blade contained Melinda's DNA. Scullin's DNA was found on the handle of the knife, according to an affidavit for an arrest warrant.

Officers also said they found blood on the inside of the passenger's side door.

In the affidavit, a detective stated Bruce Pleskovic and Scullin reported that Melinda was supposed to meet them for dinner at Applebee's the night of the murder, but they were unable to reach her. Surveillance footage placed the men and the victim's daughter, who works at the restaurant there.

When the men came home from dinner around 8 p.m., they said they found the garage door not working and the front door locked, according to the affidavit.

The Pleskovics' 18 year-old son, who has Down Syndrome, let the men into the house, where they found Melinda on the kitchen floor, according to the affidavit. Investigators said the back door was open approximately eight to 10 inches.

During a 911 call reporting the murder, Bruce Pleskovic told a dispatcher his wife had texted him to meet at the Brew Kettle restaurant. The reason for the discrepancy is unclear.

The murder followed several calls to police to report harassment at the home, including two attempted break-ins that Scullin told police he witnessed.

According to court documents, the making false alarms charge stems from a false report of an attempted break-in made by Scullin on October 19, just three days before the murder.

Continuing coverage here.