The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, 1/5/9

Mayor Frank Melton, facing three felony charges for the sledgehammer destruction of a suspected crack house, says he’s willing to pay the price if his unorthodox crime fighting helps the city.

Melton, an outspoken 59-year-old former television executive, is accused of violating the civil rights of a duplex owner and her tenant. The trial was scheduled to begin Monday but was postponed until Feb. 2 due to Melton’s recent heart problems.

Melton and his former police bodyguard are accused of leading a group of young men in August 2006 to destroy the duplex with sticks and sledgehammers. Melton believes the ramshackle home in a poor neighborhood was a haven for prostitution and drug use. He and a bodyguard, Michael Recio, have pleaded not guilty and insist they did nothing wrong.

During a news conference this past week, Melton acknowledged “mistakes of passion,” but scoffed at the idea of resigning as part of a deal with federal prosecutors.

“I will pay whatever price I need to pay to make this community get back on the right footing,” Melton said. “If they would supervise the bad guys like they supervise me, we would be in good shape.”