Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Aug. 26: Melton and his entourage, including at least one minor, destroy a home on Ridgeway Street with sledgehammers, according to witness accounts.
Aug. 27: The Clarion-Ledger reports that Melton cut both hands in a crime sweep on Ridgeway Street but makes no mention of the demolished house.
Aug. 28: The JFP posts online a WLBT report that guests of Melton assaulted an Upper level manger while he was in handcuffs early Sunday morningthe same night as the destruction on Ridgeway Street.
Sept. 1: The JFP breaks online the story of the Ridgeway demolition.
Sept. 15: A Hinds County grand jury indicts Melton, Wright and Recio on five felony counts for the Ridgeway demolition. The grand jury also indicts Melton on firearms violations. Melton turns himself in to authorities and is released on a $50,000 bond.
Sept. 18: Circuit Court Judge Tomie Green puts a gag order on the Ridgeway case.
Sept. 27: Dennis Sweet, the attorney for Ridgeway house owner Jennifer Sutton, who is suing the city for damages to the home, files a restraining order against city officials demanding that they stop referring to Sutton's duplex as a "drug house."
Sept. 28: Green seals a motion filed by Wright attorney Robert Smith, saying it violates her gag order. An unsealed response filed by the district attorney's office reveals that Smith made reference to a DEA raid Wright claims he participated in on June 1, 2005.
Oct. 2: Green chides defense attorneys for filing motions she said violated her gag order. Green also points out that Wright and Recio are still acting as Melton bodyguards, though their bonds forbid them from carrying guns.
Oct. 9: Houston attorney Craig Washington announces at a press conference that he is joining Melton's defense team on the Ridgeway case. The state files a motion for contempt and sanctions against Melton for violating the gag order with the press conference.
Oct. 13: City Attorney Sarah O'Reilly-Evans writes Sweet warning that the destroyed Ridgeway duplex is not up to code. She offers to pay for repairs if Sutton drops her lawsuit.
Oct. 16: Green rules that city officials cannot call the destroyed duplex a "drug house."
Oct. 27: Deputy City Attorney Pieter Teeuwissen files a motion asking Green to reconsider her Oct. 16 ruling.
Oct. 27: Melton attorney Dale Danks files a motion to dismiss the indictments because he claims Peterson violated state law by discussing a plea deal with Marcus Wright on Sept. 16.
Oct. 31: The DA's office replies to Danks' motion, denying improper contact with Wright and pointing out that Danks does not represent him. The DA calls for sanctions against Danks for violating the gag order. In one motion, the DA claims Melton sought a plea deal, too, but later reneged.
Nov. 3: Green orders all motions be filed with her office before the clerk so she can determine if they violate her gag order.
Nov. 15: In his trial for weapons violations, Melton pleads guilty to two misdemeanor weapons charges and "no contest" to a third count in a deal that reduced the felony charge in that case to a misdemeanor, allowing Melton to remain in office. Danks filed a motion with the Mississippi Supreme Court asking them to recuse Green for improperly limiting questions to jurors. Green places Melton under house arrest, requiring him to wear an ankle bracelet monitoring device.
Nov. 20: Green recuses herself from Melton's Ridgeway Street trial in a document made public Nov. 28. Green cites "recent improper and inappropriate contact with the trial judge and members of her family, which makes the trial judge a potential witness in subsequent proceedings." Green writes in her recusal order that she will retain jurisdiction over Melton's probation.
Nov. 28: The Supreme Court appoints retired Coahoma County Judge Joe Webster to oversee Melton's felony case.
Dec. 4: Michael Taylor, a minor who witnesses say helped Melton demolish the Ridgeway duplex, was arrested for armed carjacking. Taylor was already on bond for armed robbery.
Jan. 3: Melton stayed the night with Valerie Austin at the Christian Brotherhood Apartments, in apparent violation of his probation.
Jan. 9: Probation officer Dennis Grant warns Melton to honor the terms of his probation.
Jan. 22: Melton announces he will have surgery in Texas to treat congestive heart failure.
Jan. 29: Grant writes Green that Melton overstayed his stay in Texas due to complications.
Feb. 2: Danks writes Green asking for more time to provide evidence of Melton's surgery.
Feb. 6: Danks provides the required documentation.
Feb. 8: The Mississippi Supreme Court reverses Green's order restraining city officials.
Feb. 11: Upper Level patrons report that Melton and police, including Recio and Wright, shut down the nightclub around 2 a.m.
March 1: The JFP breaks news online that Green had issued an arrest warrant for Melton in response to his probation violations. Melton ducks jail by checking into St Dominic's Hospital complaining of chest pains.
March 5: Danks files motions with Green and the Mississippi Supreme Court seeking her recusal and vacating Melton's arrest warrant. The Supreme Court dismisses Danks' petition because the circuit court had not yet ruled. Green files a motion denying Danks' motion but then withdraws it.
March 6: Green re-files her motion. Danks files another motion with the Supreme Court. Danks accuses Green of larceny.
March 7: Melton's ankle bracelet alerts authorities that he has left the hospital. Hours later, Melton turns himself in to the sheriff and goes to jail. Danks files another motion with the Supreme Court calling for Green's ouster. Green responds, disputing Danks' charges and asking that his criminal accusations be stricken from the record. The AG's office files a motion in support of Green.
March 8: The Supreme Court recuse Green and vacates Melton's arrest warrant.
March 12: The Supreme Court reassigns Melton's probation to Judge Joe Webster.
March 14: Webster dismisses probation violation charges against Melton, calling the violations "technical."
March 14: Green renews her call for sanctions against Danks. The AG's office files a motion supporting her.
April 2: Texas attorney Craig Washington files a motion to withdraw as Melton's defense lawyer. Prosecutors file motions seeking to exclude evidence described in discovery that the Ridgeway duplex was a drug house, that children bought and used drugs there and that Welch has a history of drug abuse.
April 9: Prosecutors file a motion describing a WLBT news broadcast showing Melton and youths destroying a house.
April 10: Defense attorneys file motions arguing that evidence prosecutors sought to exclude is crucial to their case.
April 11: Danks files subpoenas ordering Peterson, FBI agent Phillip McDonald, Jackson attorney Edna Stringer and Kristi Moore to appear before Webster for an April 13 pre-trial hearing. Smith files a motion arguing that the indictments against Wright and Recio should be dismissed because they did not have probable cause hearings.
April 12: Danks subpoenas JFP Managing Editor Brian Johnson and Clarion-Ledger reporter Chris Joyner. Prosecutors file a motion describing testimony that Melton was drunk the night of the Ridgeway incident.
April 13: Webster rejects most defense motions, including Danks accusation that Peterson had improper contact with Wright, and quashed the subpoenas of journalists. Despite the gag order, Danks discusses allegations about children in the duplex with WJTV, though Webster excluded it from the trial.
April 23: The felony trial of Melton, Wright and Recio will begin.