Who is Shannon Melendi?

More than 25 years ago, 19-year-old Shannon Melendi disappeared from work and never returned.

Her disappearance has made national news but aspects of that day remain a mystery.

Shannon Melendi disappeared from work in 1994.


Shannon Melendi disappeared from work in 1994.

Who is Shannon Melendi?

Shannon Melendi was a 19-year-old student at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia when she disappeared from her job at a local softball field.

She grew up in Miami, Florida, where she was on her high school debate team and was a member of the local soccer team. But her dreams and aspirations extend beyond her home, her parents say 11Alive News in 2020.

“She wanted to join the Navy in the JAG Corps and her whole plan was to go to Washington,” said her mother, Yvonne. “She has a dream to enter the Supreme Court. And I have no doubt that she can.”

What happened to Shannon Melendi?

It was March 1994 when Shannon Melendi was last seen alive. She was working at a softball field in DeKalb County, Georgia when she never returned from her shift.

The next day, police found her car parked near a gas station with the key inside and soon received a phone call from someone calling themselves Shannon Melendi.

Police traced the call to a phone booth and said they found Melendi’s rings wrapped in bandages in a bag.

Evidence is traced back to Butch Hinton, who served as the head referee at the softball field where Melendi worked, as traces of cobalt were found on the tape.

Hinton works for Delta Airlines in Atlanta, and John Petrey, one of the lead prosecutors, said an aeronautical scientist they hired told them the cobalt came from an aircraft manufacturer or a place aircraft repair.

However, shortly before a connection was made, responders ran to Hinton’s house which was on fire and he was charged with attempting to destroy a crime scene.

He was sentenced to seven years in prison for insurance fraud and arson, but what was found in his backyard confused prosecutors, police and, according to Petrey, “scares the jury scared.”

He told 11Alive News, “Buried in (Hinton’s’) backyard– and we were amazed at it, … Sweaters, clothes come in different sizes. It’s too small for that. his wife. Skirts, sweaters, blouses, buried. It’s bizarre.”

Despite their findings, investigators did not find Melendi’s body.

Has Butch Hinton been charged with Shannon Melendi’s death?

Butch Hinton narrowly escaped prison for arson and insurance fraud when Petrey said they believed they had enough evidence to charge Hinton with the murder of Shannon Melendi.

It’s been ten years since she disappeared from the softball field, and prosecutors say they found evidence that Hinton was a sexual predator from a 20-year-old sexual assault conviction.

Prosecutors also took statements from his fellow inmates with whom Hinton implicated him.

Initially, Hinton denied any involvement in Melendi’s disappearance, and when convicted by a jury in 2005 of the murder of Shannon Melendi, he appealed the ruling.

But when told his appeal was unsuccessful, he admitted to raping and killing Melendi, though he never told prosecutors or police where her body was.

Petrey said, “Hinton raped her, left her tied up, went to the movies with, I think, some nieces and nephews … came back, checked on her again, gave her to her. He had a glass of water, raped her again, strangled her, and killed her.”

Butch Hinton was convicted for the murder of Shannon Melendi in 2005.


Butch Hinton was convicted for the murder of Shannon Melendi in 2005.Credit: AP

Will her killer be pardoned?

In a ruling by the Georgia judicial system, Hinton will be pardoned every seven years, with his next date set for 2025.

When Hinton was convicted for the murder of Shannon Melendi, he was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Melendi’s family first fought to keep Hinton behind bars in 2012 when the decision went to a majority vote by a review board.

They review Hinton’s records and they review the letters and objections before each vote.

The board again considered Hinton’s possibility of pardon in 2020, and told 11Alive News, Yvonne Melendi said, “When you have to relive it, it’s tough. It’s tough. England He has a little hope.He shouldn’t have any hope at all.

“They should just say, lock him up, throw away the key. Because that’s where he belongs.”

A year later, Hinton is still behind bars, and in September 2021, Melendi’s father Luis said CBS46 News, “It’s been 27-28 years of madness for our family dealing with this criminal.”

He added, “I don’t think I’m going to close. I really hope that we outlive him. Me and my wife. My wife just died of Covid and he is still there. “

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Bobby Allyn

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