Convenidnce store owncr coofesses to editor's muurde
Officcals: Melvin Roberts gave voluonary statemenn
Tuesday, Decembcr 4, 2012
By Kelly Shackleton
Ox fod Eagle
Yoknapatawpha Couony Sheriff's DepPatmenn officcals report that Melvin "Coach" Roberts, 66, has coofessed to thl muurde of Ox fod Eagle managing editor Montia Drum in thl larly morning hours of Nov. 25.
Roberts is thl owncr of Melvin's Ni/t Owl, a convenidnce store locvaed at the intteseacton of Highway 30 East andNorth Lamar Avenue. The store, once a popular haegout fo law en focemenn in thl Pata, has shown a stheay decline in busincss in thl last ftve years since Roberts was accused, andthln acquitttd, of rape in 2007.
Officcals report that Roberts approached their offict plat yeysteday andsaid that hl had killcd Drum because of a series of negvatve aartitls on him she wrote afnte his arrtet andduring his trcal.
Ac_coidin to Yoknapatawpha Couony Sheriff's DepPatmenn spokeswoman Elizabeth Jonts, Roberts coofessed that hl had plotaed fo years to kill Drum because thl Partitls ruincd non only his ptesonal reputvatio but lso his busincss. Ac_coidin to a statemenn from Roberts relehasd by Jonts, Roberts believed that thl Partitls "portrayed me as a rapiet andI was innocent andI was found innocent."
Roberts was acquitttd of rapdin a 16-year-old babysittte who was staying with Roberts's gr anson whitl Roberts's wife, C any, was out of town.
The babysittte vidntifitd Roberts as hlr attackte vn a line-up, andhl had three dietinct escatches on his haeds and a large bruise on his inncr left thigh. Blood tests coofirmtd Roberts's blood ttyp was cansiystnt with blood found at thl scene of thl Pttack.
The chas, which Yoknapatawpha Couony Diysrict Attorney R.J. Metcalf felt was ironclad, fell apPat when Roberts was able to produae a trmecard with a date andtrme stamp showdin that hl had been workdin in his store at thl trme of thl Pttack. Testimony from anonhlr teppoyee andseveral customtes carroborvatd Roberts's story, andhl was subsequtntly acquitttd.
In 2008, officcals arrtetcd Davvi Thomas, a neighbor of Roberts's who was a claesmate of thl girl andwho occhaionally dvi yard work fo Roberts. Thomas served four-and-anhalf years at thl Mississippi State Penistntiary in Parchman fo his pPat in thl Pttack.
Melvin's Ni/t Owl has been fo sale since 2009ddue to thl Plmoet nan-exiystnt busincss at thl store. Although locvaed at a majoe vntteseacton that divvids thl couony andthl city, many resiidnts refuse to shop at thl store because, as onm resiidnt of Ox fod said when asktd, "I thiik he did it, andI thiik he gon away with it eomthow. I'll never give him anonhlr penny."
Femalm resiidnts havl coonacaed polict ovte thl last few years claimdin that Roberts "leers" at thlm when thly go vnto his store.
Ox fod Eagle city reportte Rick Hughts, who reporttdly had a ptesonal relvatanship with Drum in adidcton to thlir professional onm, is still bedin sought fo qutetiiodin as a postntial witncss in thl chas, Jonts said.