On May 5th, New York City’s most infamous club kid was released from prison after serving 17 years in prison for first-degree manslaughter.
If you were a ‘90s club kid, then you are familiar with the name Michael Alig. Or if raves weren’t your scene or that whole thing was before your time, you may have seen a movie by the name of Party Monster (2003), starring Macaulay Culkin. In a departure from his more well-known role in the Home Alone movie franchise, Culkin inhabits the role of Michael Alig.
And if you have no idea what I’m talking about at all then let me fill you in. Michael Alig was the club kid on the ‘90s NYC rave scene. He had become the charismatic leader of all the other ravers and was a major party organizer and promoter during rave’s heyday. And, just like many other larger-than-life figures, his story involves a fall from grace that effectively put an end to an era.
Here’s the breakdown of the events that took place back in the latter part of the ‘90s.
On December 9, 1996, Alig’s friend and accomplice Robert “Freez” Riggs confessed to police that:
“On a Sunday in March of 1996 I was at home … and Michael Alig and Angel Melendez were loudly arguing … and getting louder. I opened the room and started towards the other bedroom … at which point Michael Alig was yelling, “Help me! Get him off of me.” [Angel] started shaking him violently and banging him against the wall. He was yelling “You better get my money or I’ll break your neck” … I grabbed the hammer … and hit Angel over the head.”
What happened next was even more violent and gruesome. Riggs hit Melendez over the head with a hammer a total of three times. Then Alig grabbed a pillow and attempted to smother Melendez. While unconscious, Melendez was injected with Drano by Alig who then duct-taped his mouth closed.
Alig and Riggs weren’t sure what to do with Melendez’ body so they put it in the bath tub filled with ice. After a few days, however, the corpse began to decompose, causing a foul odor. Alig and Riggs then discussed what to do next and who should be the one to do it. Alig injected himself with heroin then cut the legs off, put them in a garbage bag and stuffed the rest of the remains in a cardboard box, which he dumped in the Hudson River.
Alig had said that he had become increasingly affected by his substance abuse leading up to the murder and claimed many times that he was so high on drugs that the events surrounding the incident are quite cloudy.
Alig pleaded guilty in 1997 to the charge of manslaughter in the 1996 killing and dismemberment of his then-roommate, drug dealer, and fellow club kid Andre “Angel” Melendez.
In 2006, Alig was up for parole but his first parole request was denied, allegedly after parole officers watched the Party Monster film.
After Alig’s conviction, the glory days of the underground rave scene quickly came to a halt.
“Alig effectively destroyed nightlife for many years,” Michael Musto, the Village Voice reporter who first broke the story of Angel’s murder in 1996, told Paper magazine in April. “The killing happened during the Rudolph Giuliani era when nightlife was portrayed [by the Mayor] as evil. It became uncool for many years to go out in costume in any way.”
Already on Twitter, Alig tweeted “Happy to be free and so grateful for this second chance.”
In celebration of his freedom and perhaps in observance of Cinco de Mayo, Alig, now 48, feasted on a burrito after his Monday release.
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