Verdict Delivered in Trial of 3 Men Charged in 2009 Murder of Jonelle Melton
FREEHOLD – A jury has returned a guilty verdict on all counts against three men charged with the 2009 killing of Red Bank Middle School teacher Jonelle Melton who was found dead in her Neptune City apartment, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Ebenezer Byrd, 39, and Gregory A. Jean-Baptiste, 30, both of Asbury Park, and Jerry J. Spraulding, 41, of Keansburg, were each found guilty on all counts in connection with the Sept. 14, 2009 murder of 33-year-old Melton. The three men were found guilty of first degree Felony Murder, first degree Robbery, second degree Conspiracy, second degree Burglary, second degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, and second degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon. Additionally, Byrd and Jean-Baptiste were found guilty of first degree Witness Tampering. Byrd and Spraulding convicted of second degree Certain Persons Not to Possess Weapons due to prior convictions involving a weapon.
The verdict comes after two days of deliberations by the jury following a nine-week trial in the courtroom of Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Joseph W. Oxley.
Each of the three men faces a minimum sentence of 30 years in a New Jersey state prison, during which time they would be ineligible for parole, and a maximum sentence of Life imprisonment, subject to the provisions of the “No Early Release Act” (NERA), requiring them to serve 85 percent of any sentence imposed in excess of 30 years prior to becoming eligible for parole. Spraulding is scheduled to return for sentencing on May 16, 2019 before Judge Oxley. Jean-Baptiste will return on May 23 for sentencing, followed by Bryd who is scheduled to be sentence by Judge Oxley on May 30.
“Today, the jury has delivered another element of closure for Ms. Melton’s family, friends, her students and her community. I congratulate the assistant prosecutors, detectives, and support staff who never let up on finding her killers and working so diligently to bring this successful verdict. I know we all worked very hard in memory of Ms. Melton’s passion for life and her commitment to so many people during her lifetime. I’m proud of the efforts of my staff, and I am satisfied in how we took this case to its appropriate end,” Gramiccioni said.
Prosecutor Gramiccioni also appreciates and acknowledge the significant assistance the Office received from the Neptune City Police Department throughout the investigation and trial to bring this case to a successful conclusion, and the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office which was instrumental with its work with DNA evidence… more attached.
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