NewsPalm Beach CountyRegion C Palm Beach County


Melanie Eam found guilty of second-degree murder

Posted at 12:07 PM, Jan 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-10 23:31:45-05

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — The Palm Beach County woman accused of stabbing her boyfriend to death in 2016 in his Loxahatchee homehas been convicted of second-degree murder.

Jury deliberations started Thursday in the Melanie Eam case.

According to investigators, Eam was upset that James Barry had broken up with her, so she killed him.

Back in September, jurors couldn't reach a verdict in Eam's first murder trial, which resulted in a mistrial.

On Thursday, Eam's defense said she wouldn't testify.

During closing arguments, prosecutors said there is no disputing that Eam loved Barry. The state said it was because she loved him that she stabbed him, when she was overcome with anger that her broke up with her.

"You can use your common sense," Prosecutor Scott Reid said to jurors. "You’re sitting in a place where you’re safe, you’re with two officers. If you watched another man kill the person that you say you love, that's when you say look, 'Guy Hand is the one who stabbed him. James and I were in an argument, Guy Hand came in.' As the defense would have you believe, he got in the middle of it and he stabbed James. She didn’t say that."

The state also played a recording of Eam talking to a detective. The investigator asked how many times Eam stabbed Barry, to which she replied, "I don't know, it's not like I counted."

"What was the comment that Melanie Eam made to the officer on the body cam? It was, 'When am I going to be asked in for questioning? When am I going to be asked in for questioning?'" said Defense Attorney Bruce Lehr. "You know who gets questioned? Witnesses get questioned. She didn’t say, 'When am I going to get arrested?'"

Also during closing arguments, Eam's defense team said the knife was jammed so hard, the tip was bent. They argued it was more possible that a man committed the crime, and not the 90-pound Eam.

In a rebuttal, the state showed jurors the knife and said it was not dramatically bent, only slightly bent, in an effort to disprove the defense's argument.

A defense attorney also pointed out all the inaudible parts of the tape recording of Eam's confession, then dramatically ripped up a paper copy of the transcript and said, "What confession?"

Once deliberations got underway, jurors asked the judge to clarify some of the wording in the charge that Eam is facing.

They also rewatched police body camera video and listened to an interview that a detective did with Eam before she was arrested.

Eam will be sentenced on April 3 at 1:30 p.m.