Jamaican-born soldier pleads not guilty to murder of US Army colleagueFriday, July 30, 2021
NEW Jersey, USA – A Jamaican-born soldier in the United States Army has pleaded not guilty to the kidnapping and subsequent murder of his army colleague in Bryam, New Jersey last year.
Jamaal Mellish, who was assigned to the Fort Drum army base in New York, offered the not guilty plea on Thursday before Judge Louis Sceusi via video conferencing in a New Jersey court.
According to a report in the New Jersey Herald newspaper, Mellish was formally indicted last week on 11 counts, including murder in relation to the death of 20-year-old army serviceman, Hayden Harris.
Mellish was remanded into custody until August 18, when it is expected that his new attorney, Brian Kennedy, will bring arguments to seek his client's release from custody, the report stated.
Allegations are that on December 18, 2020, Mellish, his girlfriend's 16-year-old brother and Harris met in a parking lot in Glen Park, New York to exchange vehicles.
However, US prosecutors said that "a dispute led to Harris being kidnapped, bound and gagged, and driven 275 miles to Bryam, where he was shot and killed", the New Jersey Herald reported.
Harris's lifeless body was later found partially covered in snow by volunteer firefighters.
Mellish and the teenager were arrested in Watertown, New York, hours after the army serviceman's body was found.
The teen, who is also on murder charges, is to face a hearing next month to determine whether his case "will be waived up to an adult court", the newspaper said.
The Jamaican-born Mellish was a standout high school athlete in New York City, according to the report.
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