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Jury taking time in deliberations on...

Jury taking time in deliberations on Melton’s fate

By: Magnolia Tribune - February 24, 2009

The Clarion-Ledger, 2/24/9

Waiting for a verdict in the federal trial of Jackson Mayor Frank Melton and his former police bodyguard, Michael Recio, has settled into a routine — hours of silence punctuated by moments of activity followed by intense speculation.

Jurors wrapped up another day of deliberations Monday without any resolution of the charges facing Melton, 59, and Recio, 39. The jury has had the case since last Wednesday.

“I think they are over at around 20 hours (of deliberations),” said Mississippi College law professor Matt Steffey, who has been observing the trial. “What we are seeing is a very long deliberation given the amount of testimony.”

Melton and Recio are charged with two counts of civil rights violations related to their role in an Aug. 26, 2006, warrantless raid on a duplex that Melton has said was a drug house in the Virden Addition. The mayor is accused of directing a group of young men armed with sledgehammers in an attack on the house.

Melton and Recio face a third charge of using a handgun in the commission of a violent crime.

If convicted on all three counts, Melton and Recio would serve between five and 25 years in prison. Melton also would have to give up his office, and Recio would have to resign from the city police force where he has worked since July 1992.

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