Melton: ‘I May Step Aside'


Jackson Mayor Frank Melton said this week that he is considering taking a leave of absence from his job as mayor of the city to "bring in" a man who was acquitted of murder last week and released.

"I may take a leave of absence. I may step aside," he told The Clarion-Ledger.

Melton said he is considering becoming a private citizen, possibly for five days, to "bring in" Vidal Sullivan, 33. Hinds County released Sullivan from jail last week, but Melton said he shouldn't have been let go because of an outstanding warrant for narcotics possession and a contempt of court charge.

Sheriff Malcolm McMillin said there were no other warrants for Sullivan, and the U.S. Marshall's office said he would not assist Melton unless he had a warrant.

Last week, Sullivan, allegedly a member of the "Wood Street Gang," went free after the primary witness said that he had lied to the district attorney when he said that Sullivan had killed Carey Bias in 2003. Melton announced that he had new evidence in another old case against Sullivan. Melton now says that Sullivan is suspected in the 1997 beating death of Reginald Versell, 16, but has not provided any details of the new evidence.

District Attorney Faye Peterson said she is unsure how tight Melton's case against Sullivan is. "It sounds like he's confident with his evidence," Peterson said. "I'm interested to see how this case works out."

Matt Steffey, a Mississippi College School of Law professor, called the mayor's behavior a "very aggressive course of action," if he decided to personally pursue Sullivan. "I don't think you should be able to shrug off your status as executive officer of the city just ," he said.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment