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Appellate court upholds conviction of Melanie Eam

Court says no Miranda rights needed for woman who confessed to stabbing boyfriend to death
Jury deliberating Melanie Eam's fate
Posted at 12:25 PM, Sep 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-16 12:49:25-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — An appellate court has upheld the conviction of a Palm Beach County woman who stabbed her ex-boyfriend to death in his Loxahatchee home in 2016.

The Fourth District Court of Appeal on Wednesday affirmed the 2019 conviction of Melanie Eam.

Eam fatally stabbed Barry with a butcher knife from his kitchen after he broke up with her.

She was found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of James Barry and sentenced to 50 years in prison. It was Eam's second trial after her first ended in a mistrial.

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Attorneys for Eam argued that she was entitled to being read her Miranda rights when she confessed to the crime while being questioned by a detective at her aunt's home in Maryland.

Prosecutors argued that Eam wasn't under arrest at the time of her confession.

"She was told up front that she was not being arrested and that the Florida detective would return to Florida," Judge Martha C. Warner and Associate Judge Jennifer Hilal wrote in their decision. "While the Florida detective did not tell the defendant she was free to leave, he told her that she was not under arrest multiple times. … We cannot say that a reasonable person placed in the same position as the defendant would not feel free to leave the place of questioning."