18 April 2018 :
Former death row inmate gets life in prison for 1981 murder. A former death row inmate who more than 3 decades ago killed a man in Newport Beach was sentenced Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole. A Santa Ana jury last year convicted James Andrew Melton, 66, Black, of special-circumstances murder for the 1981 killing of Antony Lial DeSousa, ending the 3rd trial Melton had faced for the slaying. Prosecutors say Melton used advertisements in gay magazines in order to meet rich, older men who he could rob. Prosecutors said that Melton - who had 2 rape convictions - met DeSousa, a 77-year-old retiree, through such an ad, robbed him and strangled him at his condo. Melton has been behind bars since his 1981 arrest. In 1982, Melton was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. He spent more than a decade on death row at San Quentin State Prison, until a federal judge in 2007 ruled that he had been over-medicated by jail staff during his trial, preventing him from understanding the proceedings. A 2014 retrial ended with jurors deadlocked 10-2 in favor of conviction. In the lead-up to his 3rd trial, prosecutors opted not to pursue the death penalty, partly because of the case's age. Orange County Superior Court Judge Gregg L. Prickett on Friday denied a motion for a new trial and issued the LWOP sentence.