Assault between 2 inmates changed to homicide after victim dies
COLUMBIA - Captain John Wheeler of the Cole County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday the Jefferson City Correctional Center reclassified an Aug. 19 assault between two inmates as a homicide after the victim died Sunday from his injuries.
The Cole County Sheriff's Department reported the assault took place between two cellmates. The victim, 35-year-old Mark Melton (pictured), was taken to University Hospital for treatment after the suspect severely beat him in their cell.
Melton was from the southeast Missouri town of Malden. He pleaded guilty in 2009 to attempted first-degree sodomy and received a nine-year prison sentence.
The report said Melton's cellmate, the suspect in the homicide, is a 33-year-old man who was serving sentences for second-degree murder and armed criminal action.
Since the suspect was already in custody, Wheeler said the sheriff's office won't release his name or mugshot without more evidence and a thorough investigation.
Coroners performed an autopsy Monday, but the sheriff's office said the official results will not be ready for several weeks.
[Editor's note: This story has been updated to change the date of the assault from Aug. 9 to Aug. 19.]