No death penalty for accused killer of KCK police captain

Jamaal Lewis
Jamaal Lewis Wyandotte County Sheriff's Office

Prosecutors said Friday they will not seek the death penalty for the man accused in the 2016 killing of a Kansas City, Kan., police captain.

Jamaal Lewis is charged in Wyandotte County District Court with capital murder in the fatal shooting of Robert David Melton.

On Friday, he waived his right to a preliminary hearing and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

During the brief hearing, prosecutors said they had agreed to not seek a sentence of death. In return, defense attorneys agreed to not pursue a defense of mental disease or defect when the case goes to trial.

robert melton
Capt. Robert David Melton Kansas City, Kan., Police Department

With the death penalty no longer an option, Lewis, 22, could face a sentence of life with no chance of parole if convicted of capital murder.

District Judge Wes Griffin scheduled the trial for Nov. 5.

Melton, 46, was fatally shot in July 2016 while assisting other officers searching for suspects in a drive-by shooting.

When he spotted a possible suspect near 22nd Street and Georgia Avenue, Melton tried to block the person with his patrol vehicle.

The suspect then pulled out a handgun and fired several shots through the passenger side window of the police vehicle, police officials said at the time. Melton was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Lewis was arrested nearby a short time later and has been in custody since then.

During a press conference in 2016, Kansas City, Kan., Police Chief Terry Zeigler was emotional while talking about his fallen officer, Capt. Robert David Melton, and detailing the events that lead to his death.