Opelika cold case re-opened after 8 years

Opelika cold case re-opened after 8 years
Arthaniel Bernard Stanton (Photo credit: Lee County Sheriff's Office)
Arthaniel Bernard Stanton (Photo credit: Lee County Sheriff's Office)

OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) - The Opelika Police Department has recently discovered new evidence in 2006 murder case.

In 2006, the Opelika Police Department began an investigation into the Murder of Melanie Darchelle Lovelace.

Lovelace was found stabbed to death in her home on South 3rd Street in Opelika at approximately 6 a.m. on November 29, 2006. A suspect was developed in the case at that time; Arthaniel Bernard Stanton, who was Lovelace's boyfriend.

Stanton, who was 50 years old at the time, was subsequently arrested on a warrant for Murder pursuant to that investigation.

The case was later presented to a Grand Jury which returned a "No-Bill," and Stanton was not indicted.

The detectives of the Opelika Police Department continued to investigate the case, and new evidence was discovered eight years later in 2014.

That evidence was taken to the Lee County District Attorney Robbie Treese, who presented the case along with the new evidence to a Lee County Grand Jury last week. The Grand Jury then handed down a murder indictment on Staton.

Staton, who is now 58 years old, was located and arrested in Muscogee County, Ga., earlier this week for that Indictment. Staton waived extradition and was brought back to Alabama on Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014.

Staton was subsequently booked into the Lee County Detention Center where he awaits further court proceedings.

"It has been a long time coming, eight years," said Captain Shane Healey with the Opelika Police Department. "Thank God our investigators never gave up, for eight years they followed up on every little piece of information, every little lead and finally they came up with enough that the district attorney agreed to represent it to a grand jury and we got the indictment."

Additional investigative leads are being followed up on at this time.

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