Alabama's Supreme Court recently issued a stay of execution for a convicted murderer. According to a news report, the stay was granted at the request of Robert Bryant Melson, who received a death sentence in the robbery-murder of three employees of an East Gadsden Popeye's Chicken and Biscuit restaurant in 1994. As a Birmingham criminal defense lawyer, I have the experience to represent individuals charged with crimes such as grand larceny, assault and murder or manslaughter.
Being an Alabama criminal attorney, I hold that every person accused of a violent crime or other criminal offense is innocent until proven guilty by a court of law. This is everyone's constitutional right and I adhere to this important rule of law. According to the news article, the execution was to be held on February 18, but has now been delayed to await the outcome of a case being considered by the United States Supreme Court.
The 38-year-old Melson was originally convicted for the slayings of restaurant employees Nathaniel Baker, 17, Tamika Collins, 18, and Darrell Collier, 23. According to reports, a fourth employee, Bryant Archer, was the only survivor of the shootings when Melson and an accomplice, Cuhuatemoc Hinricy Peraita, robbed the restaurant in April 15 of that year. Based on court records of the incident, Archer was also shot during the robbery but survived the ordeal.
Melson's stay was granted by the Alabama Supreme Court at Melson's request so that he and his attorney could to hear the outcome of a Florida case that is currently being considered by the U.S. Supreme Court. That case reportedly involves an issue similar to Melson's case, which revolves around whether petitions were filed in a timely manner.
This stay would appear to be Melson's last chance, since records indicate that he exhausted his final appeal last October when it was denied by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Alabama Supreme Court stays Melson's execution, GadsdenTimes.com, January 27, 2010