‘Club Kid’ Michael Alig Released From Prison

By Shawn Dwyer 05/05/14

Alig received a conditional release from a New York state prison after 17 years behind bars for the drug-related murder of Andre Melendez.

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Alig after his release. Via Twitter

Michael Alig, co-founder and de facto leader of the notorious Club Kids, a group of brightly dressed hedonistic clubgoers from the late 1980s and early 1990s, has been released from prison following 17 years behind bars for the grisly murder of Andre “Angel” Melendez over a drug debt.

Alig, 47, has been eligible for parole since 2006, but has been routinely denied until this year, when he was granted a conditional release from the Mid-State Correctional Facility in Marcy, N.Y. He was convicted in 1997 for killing Melendez, a drug dealer and Alig’s roommate, with accomplice Robert “Freez” Riggs.

In March 1996, Alig and Riggs murdered Melendez after a heated argument over an uncollected drug debt. Alig said he was high at the time and the events were cloudy, but Riggs admitted to hitting Melendez several times with a hammer. Alig tried to smother him with a pillow and injected him with Drano; Riggs recalled that Alig poured the drain cleaner down his throat and duct-tapped his mouth closed.

Uncertain what to do with the body, Alig and Riggs put Melendez in the bathtub on ice, but after a few days the stench led them to dismember his body and dump it into the Hudson River in a heroin-induced haze. Melendez’s body washed up several months later off Staten Island and Alig fled New York City. He was arrested in New Jersey in November 1996 and later pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Alig was sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison.

In 2003, Macaulay Culkin played Alig in the Fenton Bailey-Randy Barbato directed feature, Party Monster, which was based on James St. James’ Club Kid memoir Disco Bloodbath.

Upon his release, Alig took to Twitter to tweet his first moments of freedom. “Happy to be free and so grateful for the second chance,” Alig said.

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Shawn Dwyer is a writer, editor and content producer living in Los Angeles. You can find him on Linkedin.