KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Life in prison with no chance of parole for at least 25 years. That’s the sentence given to Jamaal Lewis.
Lewis pleaded guilty to killing KCK Police Captain Robert "Dave" Melton in 2016. But that sentence didn’t sit well with Melton’s family. In a 41 Action News Exclusive interview, we sat down with Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree and asked why he feels justice was served.
Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree said there were concerns that pre-meditation could not be proven in court. And that’s necessary for the capital murder charge. Dupree also said, with no criminal history, the plea eliminated the possibility of Lewis getting out even sooner.
“Even if the family was willing to go and willing to say 'take it away and risk it.' My job does not allow me to say, 'because the family wants to, let’s set justice aside,'" Dupree said. "When I was growing up here in Wyandotte County, I can recall folks getting out of prison for killing someone and coming right back to the community after five years, after 10 years. I see in this situation, he’s getting life.”
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Melton’s family and the Kansas City, Kansas Fraternal Order of Police maintain they were blindsided by the deal.
FOP President Scott Kirkpatrick called it "an example of Dupree’s incompetence" and goes on to say “the FOP will work to ensure he serves only one term as D.A.”
Dupree said Kirkpatrick’s comments are purely political.
“This has nothing to do with Captain Melton’s death, and quite frankly, I believe it’s shameful and disgraceful," Dupree said.
41 Action News also asked Dupree about an ethics complaint the Melton family filed against him. It alleges he threw books down in the conference room, screamed at them, and was disrespectful. Dupree said those claims are false and unfounded.
“What we know is tensions were high. They (The Melton family) were upset. No, I did not throw books. I was not disrespectful. What I do know is when I walked in there, uniforms were thrown off. There was gun belts and loaded weapons set on the ground, and it was because people were emotional, and so my only goal was to calm everybody down, and that’s what we did. We had a conversation and, those who couldn't, walked out of the room.”
After talking with Dupree, 41 Action News reached out to FOP President Scott Kirkpatrick who told us “At the end of the day, he (Dupree) serves at the pleasure of the people and he’s up for election every 4 years.”