Melvin Roberts evaluation

Yoknapatawpha County

TO: Sheriff Taylor Sheldon
Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department
CC: Detective Samantha Murphy, YCSD
Detective Erin Parker, YCSD
Don Margolis, attorney for Melvin Roberts
FROM: Dr. Paula Bryant
Mississippi Department of Mental Health, Yoknapatawpha County
DATE: July 16, 2019
RE: Preliminary psychological evaluation of Melvin Roberts


After talking with Melvin Roberts in-depth, I concur with your suspicion that Mr. Roberts's recent murder confession is false. Mr. Roberts's behavior exhibits characteristics of a number of personality disorders. Although I hesitate to make any diagnosis based upon our single interview, two disorders, in particular, come to mind when analyzing Mr. Roberts's behavior.

The first is post-traumatic stress disorder, stemming from his military service. Mr. Roberts also exhibited signs of related dissociative personality disorder, relying on a dispassionate "alter ego" to express ideas and memories that seemed too painful for Roberts to accept otherwise. On one occasion during our discussion, he assumed the personality of a 22-year-old version of himself and engaged in lengthy talks with "other people" that he said were in the room, except he said that the room was a bivouac in a foreign country.

By talking to Mr. Roberts, I was able to discern that he also has an ingrained knack for deception or an ingrained impulse to either invent the truth or stretch it to meet his needs. Mr. Roberts's various "facts" concerning the crime scene did not match the official version by a ratio of 80%. The facts he does know about the crime match the official version released to media by your office. Ergo, he knows as much as any other local citizen would.

Mr. Roberts also convinced me that his business, Melvin's Nite Owl, has suffered dramatically from the publicity surrounding his arrest and trial five years ago. You will remember that this is what he claimed was his original motive for the homicide. Although I believe that the decline in his business did contribute somewhat to Mr. Roberts's bitterness, I do not believe that this caused him to murder Monica Drum. The five-year gap between the publication of those articles and the murder of Monica Drum does not support Mr. Roberts's assertion of acting on impulse.

It is my recommendation that Mr. Roberts should be released forthwith into the custody of the Yoknapatawpha County Health Department for a more thorough mental evaluation at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Oxford.



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