Roberts Confession Declared A Hoax
Store operator released
Thursday, December 13, 2012
By Kelly Shackleton
Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department officials declared Wednesday afternoon that the murder confession of Melvin Roberts, the owner and operator of Melvin's Nite Owl, has been ruled a hoax.
Officials declined to comment further except to say that Mr. Roberts's so-called confession was "a mixture of fantasy and delusion" and "had several inconsistencies in regard to the facts of the crime."
Roberts turned himself in to the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department on Dec. 3 and confessed to the murder of Oxford Eagle managing editor Monica Drum, citing as his motive a series of articles Drum wrote about Roberts's previous arrest for rape and his subsequent trial, which ended with his acquittal.
When he confessed, Roberts reportedly said his business and personal life had been ruined by the negative publicity and that he had plotted for several years to kill Drum if a chance arose.
Now Roberts has been released into the custody of medical professionals to receive treatment of what officials are calling his "delusions."
No further explanation was given by officials, but sources inside the department say investigators were concerned after talking to Roberts at length, and it became obvious that Roberts knew very few real details about the crime.
Rick Hughes, who published an open letter to the Oxford public last week explaining his involvement in the case, is reportedly still being sought for questioning. In the letter, which was posted on the local blog "Oxford Weekly Planet," Hughes publicly declared his innocence and said that, although he did have a long-standing romantic relationship with Drum, he had no involvement in her death.
The Drum-Hughes relationship stretches back to 2010, when they began dating. Hughes, who joined the newspaper staff in 2004, is currently on unpaid leave from the Oxford Eagle.
Hughes's attorney, Mark McGhee, was unavailable for comment, but McGhee's office staff say he is aware of this latest development in the Drum murder investigation.