Batman v. Melton, et al? | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Batman v. Melton, et al?

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Among all the possible violations of the law by Frank Melton that District Attorney Faye Peterson presented to the attorney general recently, the potential charge of filing a false arrest warrant against Albert "Batman" Donelson was the most serious. Why? Because it's a felony—and a felony conviction would get Melton removed from office.

However, Attorney General Jim Hood ruled last week that Melton never actually filed a written arrest warrant, despite the mayor's public assertions to the contrary. Thus, he said, Melton was not in technical violation of the law. But, Hood added, that didn't mean that Melton was off the hook on it—the remedy could be civil. That is, Donelson could file a civil lawsuit and claim that the mayor had harmed him and sue for damages.

Donelson himself said last week that he is planning to do just that—sue Melton.

"Enough is enough," Donelson told the Jackson Free Press. "He's saying that I killed eight people, but he can't even name the eight people. It's time for him to name the eight people he's talking about." Then he had a message for Melton: "The word is double jeopardy, dummy."

Indeed, Melton has said repeatedly to the JFP and others that Donelson has killed at least eight people. "They actually pulled the trigger and killed people," Melton told the JFP on April 6 about Donelson and friends. The mayor could not, however, name those he believes they killed besides Aaron Crockett, Harrison Hilliard, Reginald Versall or Keon Perry.

The next week, Melton called the JFP to say he had filed an arrest warrant to keep Donelson in jail. Days later, on April 13, Donelson was released: He could not be legally held under Melton's alleged warrant.

"I did the best that I could. … Based on the Constitution of the United States, I had no choice but to release him," Melton told the Jackson Free Press that night.

Melton said he had learned that Donelson could not be held because the two-year statute of limitations for a conspiracy charge had run out, and he did not wish Donelson's attorney to have to file a writ of habeas corpus to get him released. "That would be a waste of taxpayers' money," he said then.

In her letter to Hood, Peterson was concerned about the arrest warrant that Melton said publicly he had filed against Donelson. Hood, though, could find no phony arrest warrant to investigate, despite the mayor's announcement of its existence. Thus, Hood could not pursue felony charges against somebody for merely being a liar.

"I saw the thing. Frank showed it to me in his house. But he never filed it," said Randy Harris, a local attorney who represented Donelson.

"(Melton's) excuse was he wanted to protect the identity of the person who had made the affidavit, which was kind of silly because it was Christopher Walker," who was a potential witness in Donelson's trial who Peterson would not put on the stand because of financial assistance Melton had provided him, which tainted his credibility, she said.

Harris said he was confounded by his client's continued detention in the Hinds County jail, days after the state had found him not guilty and dismissed other charges against him.

"I think the trial ended on a Friday. Then the D.A.'s office was considering whether to (dismiss) the other two murder charges against him. That took about two or three days. We had a meeting with the judge in Raymond, where they told the judge that's what their intentions were. And that probably lasted until Wednesday. Then on Thursday, apparently, this new arrest warrant was—heck, I guess given to the sheriff or something, because they kept him in there. I was wondering why on that Thursday he was still being held, only to find out Frank had gotten a judge (Judge Houston Patton) to sign an arrest warrant for him," Harris said.

Peterson and Hood said Melton never actually filed a written affidavit. Hood believes Judge Patton may have gotten an oral affidavit instead from a police officer with Melton. Peterson said Melton got the judge to sign off on a bench warrant.

"They may never have filed an affidavit but, yeah, they'd filed that bench warrant. Now whether he filed that bench warrant with the municipal court and all, that I don't know, but I know one doggone thing: he took it over to that sheriff's department, and the sheriff honored it," Peterson said.

In any case, Hood said the false warrant was poor foundation for criminal charges but more likely to draw a civil suit.

Donelson said he plans to file suit very soon, and both Harris and Peterson say he likely will have a strong case. "Yeah, I'm going to sue him. It's coming. (Frank) knows it's coming," Donelson told the JFP.

Beverly Jackson, Donelson's mother, is pursuing her own case against Melton, her son told the Jackson Free Press. Responding to after-trial rumors that Donelson's friends and family were threatening Melton, he arrived on the elderly woman's porch on April 9, with armed bodyguards, his shotgun, a police dog and TV cameras. Melton challenged the house's occupants, saying: "Somebody in here threatening me? You all want to threaten me, so here I am, right here."

Donelson's mother checked into the hospital afterward with heart trouble.

"I'd like to just get away from all this and move on and stuff, but I'm not about to let his ass off the hook," Donelson said.

"That man caused me heartache and pain for five and a half years."

Melton, who recently said he has another witness against Donelson but has not revealed the name, did not return calls for this story.

Previous Comments

ID
66393
Comment

It's a d**n shame when you find yourself rooting for a convicted criminal against the mayor of a city in the hopes that someone or something can bring this fool of a mayor to his senses. I thought I would never see the day when such a thing was true.

Author
tomac
Date
2006-06-07T22:19:52-06:00
ID
66394
Comment

I'm sure not rooting for Donelson, but it is possible that such a lawsuit could help bring Mr. Melton back down to earth about what he can and cannot do. It is sad that it's come to this point. Anybody heard who the mystery witness is?

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-06-07T22:21:20-06:00
ID
66395
Comment

Anybody heard who the mystery witness is? - Ladd Robin.

Author
Jeff Lucas
Date
2006-06-08T06:30:17-06:00
ID
66396
Comment

Or Batgirl, perhaps?

Author
Jeff Lucas
Date
2006-06-08T06:30:45-06:00
ID
66397
Comment

If Melton's preacher really cared about him he would summons some sisters and brothers from the church and go over to the mayor's house to EXORCISE some of those LYING DEMONS from him. My grandmother always told us grandchildren, "if you will lie, you will steal, too." For the sake of the City of Jackson, I sho' hope she wasn't right about that too. There is a difference between spinning facts and outright lying. The mayor isn't aware of this. Gotta head out of town for today. I wish I could be here to participate.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2006-06-08T08:59:57-06:00
ID
66398
Comment

I hope that Donelson dosen't wind up like Vidal Sullivan, Smiley, or the other people that Melton tormented and then hugged. Until someone confronts Melton head-on, this madness will not stop.

Author
lance
Date
2006-06-10T11:47:59-06:00
ID
66399
Comment

I asked Mr. Melton again yesterday to name the eight people, by the way. He named five that he believes Donelson killed, and said he'd get back to me on the names of the three others. More next week on this, too.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-06-10T11:53:29-06:00
ID
66400
Comment

He probably has to go and look up some names of people that were killed during the time that he accused Batman of thees crimes. IMO Melton has the creditibility of Saddam Hussein.

Author
lance
Date
2006-06-10T11:56:16-06:00
ID
66401
Comment

As much as I hate criminals this is one time I think the criminal will win. Ladd next time you see melton if you don't mind tell him thanks for all the "help he has given those poor criminals"' and we hope he will take batman in if he needs a place to stay and give him money for his kids and his mother. I would love to see his face. if you do I know you are going to let us know what lie he tells about this one. I wonder if we the people are going to have to pay when Melton looses these suits. Woukld it not be sad if batman owned the COJ. Remember how Danks put a tape around city hall Batman might wind up doin the same thing.

Author
jada
Date
2006-06-10T16:52:08-06:00
ID
66402
Comment

Well, you raise an interesting issue. One of the ways that our system, and our Constitution, keeps the U.S. from turning into a fascist police state, is by building in safeguards that allow criminals to beat the system, to to speak, when their rights are violated int he process of law enforcement. This seems unfair, but it's the only real way to deter bad policing and dictators from running around saying and doing what they want. Mr. Melton's habits, if not changed, are going to lead to rewards for criminals. No doubt. He's falling through the trapdoors of American democracy. And, yes, the citizens will fall, too, and pay if he does not change his ways. That Jim Hood interview repeatedly warns that the remedy is "civil," and I assure you that won't just be against Mr. Melton as an individual, and shouldn't be, if the citizens allow him to do these things on our behalf. We'll pay. I guess the ultimate twisted scenario would be Danks suing the city on Donelson's behalf. I don't put anything past him, but he and Melton will have to have their fall-out first.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-06-10T16:58:43-06:00
ID
66403
Comment

Here's some more old news from The Clarion-Ledger. It seems that Batman is suing Melton. Who knew? ;-)

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-06-29T10:33:34-06:00
ID
66404
Comment

Oh, and notice the Donelson family "could not be reached for comment." Yes, they can.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-06-29T10:34:32-06:00

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