The Fate of Shannon Melendi Now Known
Shannon Melendi vanished from a soft-ball field in Dekalb County Georgia on March 26, 1994. The last person to have seen Shannon was Colvin "Butch" Hinton, a soft ball umpire at the ballfield where she worked part time. Hinton had a past that included sexual violence against several young women. This is something that Shannon Melendi had no knowledge of.
After Shannon's disappearance, massive searches followed, and authorities were interested in Hinton's information as well. He claimed he knew nothing of what happened to Shannon and only saw her working at the field that fateful day.
Mysteriously after Shannon vanished, Hinton's house would burn to the ground. This happened after FBI agents did a clean sweep of the residence with both agents and special trained dogs. To no avail, there was no sign of Shannon Melendi.
Colvin "Butch" Hinton was later sentenced to eight years for burning his house down for money and the disappearance of Shannon was begin to fade into a mystery only spoken about at various pubs in the Emory college town. Although the case seemed to have slowed down a lot in the community, Shannon's parents never forgot and the pain never died down.
Just as Hinton was released from his eight year stent, he was indicted for the murder of Shannon Melendi without her body, and the case began to heat back up all over again. Nearly ten years after Shannon's disappearance, an Atlanta jury found Colvin "Butch" Hinton GUILTY of kidnapping and murdering Shannon Melendi. Her body was still missing and he claimed he was INNOCENT.
Just today (July 17, 2006), Hinton told prison officials that he did indeed murder Shannon Melendi. He revealed that he kidnapped her at knifepoint from the ballfield that fateful day, took her to his home, where he raped her, then murdered her, from there he burned her body. At this time, authorities are about to begin a full scale search for her remains. There is no indication that Butch Hinton has ANY remorse for what he's done to Shannon Melendi. As our family sat here in shock as this news report came across the news tonight, we thought we'd have to be satisified alongside with Shannon's family with just a GUILTY verdict and no body. Because, Hinton, just like some others would force us to relive to hell each day by never revealing the body's location and that we'd always have to wonder. It's a sick sense of satisfaction that will be repaid by a greater entity whose wrath, I hear, is pretty bad. While I'm glad some parts of this have been revealed, I'm sad to think that the FBI and those dogs were not trained enough to find her because she was there.
Hinton admits to Melendi murder
Emory University student raped, killed in 1994
By DAVID SIMPSON
The Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionPublished on: 07/17/06
Colvin C. "Butch" Hinton III confessed to the murder of Shannon Melendi on Monday, admitting he raped and strangled the 19-year-old Emory University student in 1994 and then burned her body.
"I hate what I done," Hinton said in a meeting with authorities at Rogers State Prison in Reidsville Monday. "I know I'll never, ever be forgiven by most people. And I accept that. But I am so sorry. I've hurt so many people with the lies I've told."
Hinton spoke with law enforcement authorities and prison officials for more than two hours Monday. An Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter was allowed to attend the meeting.
Melendi was last seen March 26, 1994, working a part-time job at a softball complex where Hinton was an umpire.
Hinton said Monday that he gave Melendi a ride to Burger King to have lunch. Then tricked her into driving his car by faking a leg cramp.
Once she was behind the wheel, Hinton said he pulled a knife and forced her to drive to his home in Clayton County. He raped her and held her there for about 12 hours. He then strangled her with a necktie, he said.
He said he burned Melendi's body in his yard and scattered the ashes.
Hinton had never admitted killing Melendi. He was convicted of the murder in a DeKalb County court last September, even though investigators never found Melendi's body and prosecutors could not say when or where she was killed.
Hinton said Monday he had wanted to confess since seeing Melendi's family at his trial. But he held out some hope of freedom until the Georgia Supreme Court upheld his conviction last month.
Hinton long was a prime suspect in Melendi's disappearance, because of past sex offenses, but he wasn't indicted for her murder until 2004.
Melendi's disappearance sparked a high-profile search for information by her Miami-based family and by friends in Atlanta. They distributed posters and fliers. Shannon's photo wound up on billboards and on TV programs such as "America's Most Wanted."
Former President Jimmy Carter helped get the FBI involved. Melendi had worked part time at the Carter Center.
Hinton went to federal prison in 1996 for arson, and inmates who served time with him helped build the case against him in his trial for Melendi's murder. They claimed he talked to them about disposing of a body. One said Hinton awoke screaming one night and said, "I didn't kill her. The demon inside of me killed her."
Shortly after his conviction was upheld, Hinton contacted his defense lawyer, B.J. Bernstein, and asked her to set up the meeting held Monday with representatives of the DeKalb district attorney's office, DeKalb County Police and state prison officials