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Watch: Melanie Eam Retrial for the Murder of Boyfriend James Barry


Florida woman Melanie Eam stands trial again for the November 17, 2016 death of her 21-year-old boyfriend James Barry. Prosecutors in Palm Beach County charged her with second-degree murder, saying she stabbed him to death after he dumped her. The jury in the first trial were deadlocked on a verdict last September. Four jurors said they wanted to convict on the original charge, but two decided on the lesser count of manslaughter. The defense had suggested that the boyfriend of Barry’s mother committed the crime.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Barry’s friend and the mother’s boyfriend woke to find the victim bleeding from the neck. The boyfriend attempted to save the victim via CPR. They said they didn’t see Eam at the residence, but the mother’s boyfriend noted she often stayed there.

Deputies learned that Barry dumped Eam via text message a few hours before. Her parents said she came home after midnight knocking on the bedroom door when they were taking showers, and her father saw her driving off fast from their home in her white Toyota as he left the bedroom, according to the affidavit.

Eam’s cousin told deputies that she was in Maryland, and at his mom’s house. A detective interviewed at her at the residence. There, Eam allegedly admitted going to Barry’s house, grabbing a knife when he said he didn’t love her, and stabbing him. According to deputies, she gave them the shirt she claimed to wear during the act. She noted that she hadn’t washed it, and that there was a little bit of blood on the shirt sleeve, authorities claim.

Eam’s defense lawyer Bruce H. Lehr tried and failed to suppress her alleged confession. He argued that police violated her right to counsel by taking the statement down without a lawyer present. Judge Glenn D. Kelley ruled against him, pointing out that Eam was in her aunt’s home surrounded by relatives, not in custody.

Here’s something to keep in mind if the defense again attempts to argue that the mother’s boyfriend committed the murder. The man, Guy Hand, told investigators he picked up the knife from the floor, and put it in the kitchen after finding Barry bleeding to death.

“He said he didn’t know why he did move the knife,” according to the affidavit. Hand told investigators he remembered using it earlier in the evening to prepare a pot roast for dinner.

[Image via Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office]

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