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Court hearing on whether to toss accused killer Melanie Eam's confession

Posted at 3:50 PM, Nov 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-09 04:31:26-05

A Palm Beach County judge will now decide whether murder confession will be able to be used as evidence in the case of a local woman accused of killing her ex-boyfriend.

Both sides made their case Wednesday in court.

Melanie Eam, now 21, told investigators she killed James Barry, 20, but her lawyer says it came before she was arrested or read her Miranda rights.

Four people took the stand Wednesday, two Maryland police officers and two of Melanie Eam’ cousins.

Eam was with them at her aunt’s home in Maryland while she was under surveillance by those officers.

At the time, Eam was considered a person of interest.

“That’s the right thing to do, she was wanted for questioning, so we contacted police,” one of rr cousins testified. 

According to an arrest report, Eam told investigators she killed Barry because she was hurt by the break up.

But according to her lawyer, Bruce Lehr, the confession should be thrown out because Eam wasn’t arrested yet.

“There’s the issue of whether she was in custody sufficiently, that she had to be given her rights,” Lehr said in an interview. 

It was an emotional day the Barry family, in part because of the timing.

“A living nightmare month,” said sister, Alexandra Barry. “My brother was murdered November 17 of last year by his ex-girlfriend over a breakup.  No one should be murdered over a breakup.  Period, end of story.”

“Remember, we have an individual who admitted to murdering our son,” said James’s dad, Jim Barry. “That’s something we want justice for.”

The judge could issue his written ruling any time.

The next court hearing is Feb. 1, that’s when the trial date will be announced.


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