Charges in the Kidnapping & Homicide of Corporal Hayden Harris in Byram

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Sussex County Prosecutor Francis A. Koch announced today charges against two defendants in the Kidnapping and Homicide of Corporal Hayden Harris, who’s body was discovered on 12/19/2020 at approximately 3:15 p.m. by members of the Byram Township Police Department, in a wooded area adjacent to 30 Ross Road, Byram Township, New Jersey.

 

The two defendants charged today are Specialist Jamaal Mellish (DOB 10/10/1997) of Brooklyn, NY and a 16 year old male Juvenile. 

The charges against Jamaal Mellish are:

  1. MURDER FOR PURPOSELY CAUSING THE DEATH OF H.H., IN VIOLATION OF N.J.S.A.

2C:11-3A(1), A FIRST DEGREE CRIME;

  1. KIDNAPPING BY UNLAWFULLY REMOVING H.H. A SUBSTANTIAL DISTANCE FROM, GLEN PARK, NY FOR THE PURPOSE OF INFLICTING BODILY INJURY ON OR TERRORIZING H.H., IN VIOLATION OF N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1(B)(2), A FIRST DEGREE CRIME;
  2. FELONY MURDER BY ENGAGING IN THE COMMISSION OF OR AN ATTEMPT TO COMMIT THE CRIME OF KIDNAPPING (NJSA 2C:13-1) WITH ANOTHER, DURING WHICH THE DEATH OF H.H. OCCURRED, IN VIOLATION OF N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3(A)(3), A FIRST DEGREE CRIME;
  3. KNOWINGLY POSSESS A HANDGUN, WITHOUT FIRST HAVING OBTAINED A PERMIT TO CARRY THE SAME AS PROVIDED IN N.J.S.2C:58-4, IN VIOLATION OF N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(1), A CRIME OF THE SECOND DEGREE;
  4. POSSESSION OF A FIREARM, WITH A PURPOSE TO USE IT UNLAWFULLY AGAINST THE PERSON OR PROPERTY OF H.H., IN VIOLATION OF NJSA 2C:39-4(A)(1), A SECOND DEGREE CRIME; and
  5. SUPPRESS, BY WAY OF CONCEALMENT OR DESTRUCTION, ANY EVIDENCE OF THE CRIME, REGARDLESS OF ITS ADMISSIBILITY IN EVIDENCE, WHICH MIGHT AID IN THE DISCOVERY, APPREHENSION OR LODGING OF A CHARGE AGAINST HIMSELF WITH THE PURPOSE TO HINDER HIS OWN DETENTION, APPREHENSION, INVESTIGATION, PROSECUTION, CONVICTION OR PUNISHMENT FOR AN OFFENSE OR VIOLATION OF TITLE 39 OF THE REVISED STATUTES, IN VIOLATION OF NJSA 2C:29-3B(2), A THIRD DEGREE CRIME

The charges against the juvenile:

  1. KIDNAPPING BY UNLAWFULLY REMOVING H.H. A SUBSTANTIAL DISTANCE FROM GLEN PARK, NY FOR THE PURPOSE OF INFLICTING  BODILY INJURY ON OR TERRORIZING H.H., IN VIOLATION OF N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1(B)(2), A FIRST DEGREE CRIME;
  2. FELONY MURDER BY ENGAGING IN THE COMMISSION OF OR AN ATTEMPT TO COMMIT THE CRIME OF KIDNAPPING (NJSA 2C:13-1), DURING WHICH THE DEATH OF H.H. OCCURRED, IN VIOLATION OF N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3(A)(3), A FIRST DEGREE CRIME;
  3. KNOWINGLY POSSESS A HANDGUN, WITHOUT FIRST HAVING OBTAINED A PERMIT TO CARRY THE SAME AS PROVIDED IN N.J.S.2C:58-4, IN VIOLATION OF N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(1), A CRIME OF THE SECOND DEGREE;
  4. POSSESSION OF A FIREARM, WITH A PURPOSE TO USE IT UNLAWFULLY AGAINST THE PERSON OR PROPERTY OF H.H., IN VIOLATION OF NJSA 2C:39-4(A)(1), A SECOND DEGREE CRIME;

The arrest of the two defendants was the result of a collaborative effort by the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office, the Byram Police Department, the New Jersey State Police, and the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate of the 10th Mountain Division, U.S. Army, Fort Drum, NY; U.S. Army CID at Ft. Drum, NY; the Jefferson County, NY, District Attorney’s Office, Watertown, NY; the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, Watertown NY, and the New York City Police Department, Department of Investigations Squad.

Mellish is currently being held in military custody under pretrial confinement in Oneida County, NY and the juvenile is in custody in a juvenile detention facility.

This investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact Lt. Nicholas Elmo at the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office 973-383-1570 or Det. Robert Tierney at the Byram Township Police Department at 973-347-4008.

The Defendants are presumed to be Not Guilty of the charged offenses unless and until proven beyond a reasonable doubt.


 

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