KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The family of Kansas City, Kansas Police Captain Robert Melton has filed an ethics complaint following a recent guilty plea by the man who killed Melton.
John Melton, the brother of Captain Melton, confirmed to 41 Action News that the family was never notified about the change of charge by the Wyandotte County District Attorney's office.
In a court hearing last Thursday morning, Jamaal Lewis pleaded guilty to first-degree felony murder, which carries a life sentence. Lewis will, however, be eligible for parole after 25 years.
The Melton family alleges the District Attorney also disrespected his family during an argument in a conference room after the hearing.
"He’s screaming, throws his books down, and says 'I am not going to be blatantly disrespected by you,'" John Melton said of the meeting with District Attorney Mark Dupree. "The way he handled himself, not calling someone ahead of time that this would happen, there was not a police officer in sight, a sheriffs deputy, nothing."
John Melton said he made the ethics complaint with the Office of the Disciplinary Administrator in Topeka.
The office told 41 Action News that it doesn't confirm or deny the existence of a complaint unless it reaches a public hearing phase.
The District Attorney's Office said in a statement last Thursday that a defendant can plead guilty to charges at any time.
When asked on Thursday, Dupree told 41 Action News he's under a gag order and isn't allowed to speak about the case.
However, he spoke on a panel Thursday evening, discussing how his office generally handles cases. He and prosecutors from Johnson and Jackson counties said plea deals are win-wins.
"My philosophy is to treat every citizen the same," said Dupree. "Justice is not revenge. And often times people want revenge when the job of the prosecutor is to answer justice. And that cannot play apart in reaching what justice means."
The charge Lewis now faces carries a life sentence, but would be eligible for parole after 25 years.
"Could you tell me that it's possible Jamaal Lewis could walk up to my niece and say, 'I know you, I killed your dad?'" Melton said he asked Dupree in the meeting.
Dupree said it was possible.
"There are certain obligations that a prosecuting attorney has to notify victims of crimes and their families, reasonable notice of hearings, an opportunity to appear at those hearings," said attorney James Spies.
James Spies is a defense attorney not representing the Melton family. He says the complaint could open an investigation.
"An investigation could result in discipline, if that is warranted," Spies said. "That's a lengthy process."
Melton says at this point, an apology wouldn't mean much. He's more upset about the lack of communication.
"The only thing with this alternative charge was to safety net, his words not mind, just in case we couldn’t get this," Melton said.
Sentencing for Lewis is set for 2 p.m. on Nov. 30.