Robert Bryant Melson - Alabama - 2/18/10

Started by Jeff1857, November 15, 2008, 12:58:30 AM

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ATLANTA (AP) - The federal appeals court in Atlanta has rejected an Alabama inmate's bid to overturn his death sentence for killing three people at a Gadsden Popeye's restaurant in 1994.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed Friday with a lower court, which said Robert Bryant Melson's habeas corpus petition was not timely filed.

The courts said rules required the filing within a year of the U.S. Supreme Court's March 2001 decision not to hear his direct appeal.

Melson first pursued other avenues of appeal and filed the habeas petition in 2004.

Melson was condemned for the shooting deaths during a robbery.

An accomplice, Cuahatemoc Peraita, is on death row for killing another Holman Prison inmate while serving a life term in the Gadsden deaths.

Source: (

heidi salazar

State seeks execution date in 3 Popeye's killings

By The Associated Press
October 08, 2009, 12:00PM

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- The Attorney General's office has asked the Alabama Supreme Court to set an execution date for a man convicted of killing three people at a Gadsden Popeye's Restaurant in 1994.

Assistant Attorney General Clay Crenshaw said Thursday that 38-year-old Robert Bryant Melson has exhausted his available appeals.

Melson was convicted in the shooting deaths of three workers at the Popeye's during a late night robbery. According to trial testimony, the workers were rounded up by two gunmen and taken into a freezer where they were shot.

Another man, Cuhuatemoc "Half Pint" Peraita, was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole. Peraita is now on death row for killing an inmate at Holman Prison in Atmore.


Melson was denied cert by the Supreme Court on Monday.  It really didn't take very long for the State to request an execution date...
JT's Ridiculous Quote of the Century:
"I'm disgusted with the State for even putting me in this position."
-- Reginald Blanton, Texas death row.  As of October 27, 2009, Reggie's position has been in a coffin.

heidi salazar

January 12, 2010, 04:54:26 AM Last Edit: February 19, 2010, 07:37:34 PM by Jeff1857
Execution date for man convicted of killing three in 1994

The Alabama Supreme Court today scheduled the execution of a man convicted of killing three people during an April 1994 robbery in Gadsden.

Robert Bryant Melson, 38, will be executed Feb. 18, said Supreme Court staff attorney Alex Jackson. Melson has been a Death Row inmate since May 1996.

Melson and another man, Cuhuatemoc Peraita, 33, were convicted of fatally shooting Tamika Collins, 18, Nathaniel Baker, 17, and Darrell Collier, 23, during a robbery at a Popeye's Chicken & Biscuits restaurant in Gadsden.

The lone survivor, Bryant Archer, was shot four times. Archer identified Melson as the one who fired the shots. Prosecutors said Peraita planned the crime.

Peraita was sentenced to life in prison but joined Melson on Death Row in 2001 after he was convicted of taking part in the 1999 stabbing death of fellow Holman Prison inmate Quincy Lewis.

In 2009, the Alabama Attorney General's Office asked the Supreme Court to schedule the executions of Melson and two other Death Row inmates -- Thomas Whisenhant and Thomas Arthur.
The attorney general's office sought the execution date because Melson had exhausted his appeals, according to an Associated Press report.

Melson's execution is the first scheduled for 2010. In 2009, Alabama executed six Death Row inmates.

This story was updated at 5:30 p.m. to add the fact that Melson has exhausted his appeals.


Speaking for the victims
Robert Bryant Melson fatally shot Tamika Collins on April 15, 1994, during a robbery of Popeye's Famous Fried Chicken restaurant in Gadsden. Two other employees were killed, but one lived and testified against Melson. Melson was sentenced to death. Birmingham Post-Herald reporter Taylor Bright asked Denise Collins, the mother of Tamika Collins, about the killing and capital punishment. Here's what she had to say.

"When it happened, I had been to the doctor that day ... and I was sick. Her phone kept ringing. She had her own line. We all had our own lines. Her phone kept ringing and I didn't know why.

I answered the phone and somebody said, 'Mrs. Collins, Have you been over to Popeye's?' because that's where Tamika worked. And I said, 'No. Why?' And they said, 'Well, something happened over there. I don't know what it is.'

There were police cars over there. My husband got in the van and then he went over there. He came back and said, 'Come on. Let's go back over there. Something happened. I don't know what it is.

We got over there and they just told us that she was in there and she was dead. Her and two more people. And that's how we found out.

It has changed our life. It really has. When it happened, I just couldn't get my thoughts together. I just couldn't believe it. When she left home, everything was fine.

I never have been on any medication in my life and when that happened, I had to get on blood pressure pills and nerve pills. I had to go through therapy for four years.

... Tamika was a very good child. She was working and going to college. Me and Joe had talked to her a few weeks before this had happened and told her we had wanted her to quit working and go full time to school. But she wanted to have her own little money, and her daddy was buying her a car and he was paying the high insurance.

It was a big loss when she left this world, I tell you, a big loss. She was a very, very good child. I'm not trying to put her on any pedestal. If she had any faults in her, I would say it. ...

If I could have her back right now, I would want her because she was my daughter and my best friend. She was always thinking of other people before she thought about herself. That's just the way she was.

I really had to do some hard praying. I just had so much in me.

When it happened I just said, 'Why?' I know I was questioning God and shouldn't have done that. I just couldn't believe she was gone like that.

For a while, I would go to church and I would see her all over the church and ... I would just break down. I would have to come home, or they would have to take me to the hospital.

My husband, he's a deacon at our church and he doesn't even go anymore. But I keep trying to talk to him to go. He said he has so much hatred in his heart, you know, he just doesn't feel right to go to church. But he was a real faithful person. ...

What do I think about Robert Bryant Melson? If I saw him right now, I wouldn't kill him. But I want him to do the sentence they gave him. He took three lives. I mean those were good people and there was just no sense in what he did.

I'm not going to say I hate him, and I wouldn't kill him, but I want them to do whatever they will do to him. I want them to do it.

Some people in my family said they were really looking forward to it (the execution), but I don't have to see that, because that's not going to bring her back. It really doesn't matter whether I go or not."

Denise Collins holds her daughter Tamika's 1993 high school graduation picture. Tamika Collins was killed in 1994 during a robbery at her job at Popeye's in Gadsden. "It was a big loss when she left this world," Collins said.



"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself." Albert Einstein


"Peraita was sentenced to life in prison but joined Melson on Death Row in 2001 after he was convicted of taking part in the 1999 stabbing death of fellow Holman Prison inmate Quincy Lewis."

Life imprisonment - successfully eliminating recidivism since 1974!

JT's Ridiculous Quote of the Century:
"I'm disgusted with the State for even putting me in this position."
-- Reginald Blanton, Texas death row.  As of October 27, 2009, Reggie's position has been in a coffin.


I've long wondered how abolitionists deal with the thorny albeit limited problem of lifers who commit another murder while in prison or on the lam. Do you give them another life sentence? How do you deter and/or punish this select group of offenders? I'd be interested in knowing the opinion of any antis who visit this site.

heidi salazar

Off the top of my head I can recall 3 death sentences for incarcerated inmates this year.

heidi salazar

January 28, 2010, 01:32:24 AM Last Edit: January 28, 2010, 09:53:41 PM by JT
Execution delayed of man convicted in mass slaying in Gadsden

A man convicted in the 1994 slayings at a fast food restaurant in Gadsden has had his execution delayed, The Gadsden Times reports. The Alabama Supreme Court issued the stay Tuesday for the execution for Robert Bryant Melson, the newspaper reports. The execution had been set for Feb. 18.

Melson and another man, Cuhuatemoc Peraita, 33, were convicted of fatally shooting Tamika Collins, 18, Nathaniel Baker, 17, and Darrell Collier, 23, during a robbery at a Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits restaurant in Gadsden.

The lone survivor, Bryant Archer, was shot 4 times. Archer identified Melson as the one who fired the shots. Prosecutors said Peraita planned the crime.

(source: Birmingham News)


January 28, 2010, 09:32:37 PM Last Edit: January 28, 2010, 09:55:32 PM by JT
The execution date for Robert Bryant Melson, sentenced to death for the slayings of three restaurant employees, has been delayed.

The Alabama Supreme Court Tuesday issued a stay of execution, according to Clay Crenshaw, chief of the capital litigation division of the Alabama attorney general's office.

Melson was convicted in the 1994 slayings of three people at Popeyes Chicken and Biscuit restaurant in East Gadsden.

Crenshaw said the stay was granted by the Alabama Supreme Court at Melson's request to hear the outcome of a Florida case that is before the U.S. Supreme Court. That case has an issue similar to Melson's case and involves questions about whether petitions were filed in a timely manner.

An execution date had been set for Feb. 18 at Crenshaw's request after Melson's final appeal was denied in October by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Melson, 38, was convicted and sentenced to death in the slayings of Nathaniel Baker, 17; Tamika Collins, 18; and Darrell Collier, 23.

Bryant Archer was the only survivor when Melson and Cuhuatemoc Hinricy Peraita robbed the restaurant April 15, 1994. Archer was one of four employees shot during the robbery.

Archer said Wednesday he plans to work to make sure another execution date is set.

"I am not really sure why they would give Melson a stay, but I will do everything I can to get back to getting his date set," Archer said. "The pain I feel is sadness and as if it's happened to me again. Not sleeping much and watching this not come to an end does not seem right."

Archer has moved from Gadsden and still suffers from the experience.

"I have two kids from a previous marriage that are my everything, and my wife, Hollie," he said. "I am not sure how they put up with me sometimes, but I am thankful every single day that I have them and my family is the only thing that I have to look forward to each day."

Archer moved two years ago from Gadsden to a small town, "in which people do not try to pass judgment on me."

District Attorney Jimmie Harp said he believes justice still will be served.

"Obviously, we are ready to see the verdict reached by a jury and ordered by a judge to be carried out," Harp said. "We want closure as soon as we can get it, once these issues are resolved."

heidi salazar

January 29, 2010, 03:40:38 AM Last Edit: February 19, 2010, 07:36:46 PM by Jeff1857
State likely won't challenge Melson execution stay

The state attorney general probably will not try to overturn a 4-3 state Supreme Court decision staying the execution of death row inmate Robert Melson.

Melson was convicted in the 1994 slayings of 3 employees at a Popeye's restaurant in Gadsden. The chief of the Alabama attorney general's capital litigation division, Clay Crenshaw, said Thursday a Florida death row inmate has raised issues similar to those by Melson. He said that prompted the Alabama justices to stay the execution until the U.S. Supreme Court decides the issue.

Crenshaw said Thursday the Florida case is scheduled to be argued before the court in March and he expects a decision by July. Melson had been scheduled to be executed on Feb. 18.

(source: Associated Press)


Melson was Remanded to the 11th Circuit in lieu of Holland in today's US Supreme Court's Orders/Opinions.


U.S. Supreme Courts hearing in death penalty case for man convicted of Gadsden fast food slayings

The U.S. Supreme Court has ordered a federal appeals court to reconsider arguments in the appeal of the death sentence of a man accused of killing 3 people during a robbery at a Gadsden fast food restaurant.

The Gadsden Times reported that the decision Monday by the U.S. Supreme Court will likely further delay the execution of Robert Bryant Melson. He had been scheduled to die this month, but the Alabama Supreme Court granted a stay of execution.

The U.S. Supreme Court decision asks the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta to hold further hearings on Melson's appeal even though he had earlier missed a deadline for filing his appeal.

Melson was 1 of 2 men accused of rounding up employees of Popeye's Restaurant during a late night robbery, leading them into a cooler and shooting them.

(source: Associated Press)


The 11th Circuit Remanded Melson back to the District Court in lieu of Holland.

Order is here:


Death row inmate loses appeal in 1994 slaying of 3 Popeyes employees in Gadsden
  By Kelsey Stein |
Follow on Twitter
on April 05, 2013 at 5:55 PM, updated April 05, 2013 at 11:20 PM
GADSDEN, Alabama - Nearly two decades after three employees were gunned down at a fast-food restaurant, an Alabama death row inmate has lost another appeal in his fight to overturn his capital murder conviction.
In a decision filed Thursday afternoon, a three-member panel of judges on the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the decision of a lower court to dismiss Robert Bryant Melson's federal habeas corpus petition, saying it was submitted after the deadline.
Three employees of the Popeye's Famous Fried Chicken restaurant in east Gadsden were found shot to death in a walk-in freezer on April 16, 1994. A fourth was shot four times and left for dead.
Melson, who was 22 at the time, and Cuhuatemoc Hinricky Peraita, who was 17, were arrested in Rainbow City and charged with capital murder less than an hour after the lone survivor of the attack called police.
Melson, now 41, has twice escaped execution. He cites "attorney abandonment" in his latest appeal, saying that a Colorado attorney and a local attorney who formerly represented him did not keep him abreast of the status of his petition and did not file subsequent appeals.
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama rejected Melson's argument that his petition should be considered. The 11th Circuit affirmed the decision in a filing that says "it is clear that Melson's nearly complete inaction during the more than three and a half years that passed between when his state court judgment became final in March 2001 and when he filed his federal habeas petition in December 2004 is insufficient to establish reasonable diligence."
Federal Defenders Program Executive Director Christine Freeman, Attorney Supervisor Leslie Smith and attorney John Palombi are representing Melson.
There are additional steps that can be taken in Melson's case, including several petitions that can be filed, Freeman said.
They can submit a petition for rehearing, requesting that either the same panel of judges or the entire court review Melson's case.
"We're disappointed by the court's decision," Freeman said. "The bottom line is that Mr. Melson was abandoned by his attorneys."
Popeyes employees Tamika Collins, 18; Nathaniel Baker, 17; and Darrell Collier, 23, all of Gadsden, were killed in the attack. Bryant Archer, 17, was shot four times but survived.
It occurred after the restaurant closed around 11:30 p.m. on Friday, April 15.
Despite the assailants' bandana-cloaked faces, Archer identified Peraita by his unusual haircut, and said Melson was the shooter.
He testified that Melson and Peraita entered a back door of the restaurant. The two men took $2,000, then herded the workers into the freezer and shut the door. The door suddenly opened, and one of the assailants fired eight shots.
When Peraita and Melson were arrested, police recovered a bag of money and found a .45-caliber pistol that had been tossed into the Coosa River.
In a statement to police, Peraita admitted his participation in the robbery but said Melson fired the shots.
At the end of Melson's April 1996 trial, jurors convicted him of four counts of capital murder and recommended the death penalty. In May 1996, a judge sentenced Melson to death. He has been on death row at Holman Correctional Facility ever since.
Two execution dates have been set but then delayed by appeals. Over the years, Melson has filed numerous appeals through state and federal court.
In February 1996, Peraita was convicted and sentenced to life without parole. He has since been moved to Alabama's death row after he was convicted of killing a fellow inmate while serving his life sentence.
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"Indeed, the decision that capital punishment may be the appropriate sanction in extreme cases is an expression of the community's belief that certain crimes are themselves so grievous an affront to humanity that the only adequate response may be the penalty of death."  SCOTUS

Peace and Comfort to all Victims and Families

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