Second jury deadlocks over accused child killer

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The second trial of a would-be private investigator accused of molesting and murdering a 6-year-old boy last year also ended Monday in a mistrial.

After deliberating a week, a Sacramento jury told the judge it was hopelessly deadlocked 9-3 in favor of acquittal in the trial of Shawn Quincy Melton, 27, that began Aug. 22.


The first trial also ended in a mistrial when another jury deadlocked in June,7-5 in favor of acquittal.

District Attorney Michael Nail said no immediate decision had been made on whether to seek a third trial. Solano County Superior Court Judge Dwight Ely set a hearing for Wednesday to decide what to do with the case.

The trial was moved from Solano to Sacramento County because of pre-trial publicity.

Melton was charged with abducting Jeremy Stoner from his Vallejo neighborhood Feb. 21, 1987. The boy's nude body was found in the San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta four days after his disapparence.

Prosecutors conceded they had little physical evidence linking Melton to the crime.

The chunky Melton, who was struggling to open a private detective business, approached police in March, offering help with the investigation. But police interrogated and arrested him, claiming he had compiled information only the murderer could have known, such as the exact location of the body.


However, the prosecution acknowledged a lack of physical evidence connecting Melton with the crime.

In an interview published Sunday, Melton said he had 'grown up mentally' while in jail and had grown closer to God.

He told The Sacramento Union he expected either to be acquitted or to have another hung jury.

'If I had done it, I would own up to it,' he said of the murder. 'I would not waste the people's time, the victim's family's time or the court's time. The only reason I fight this is because I know I'm innocent and I want the real person to come forward or be found.'

He remains in custody without bail.

Latest Headlines