3 Arrested In Brutal Cold Case Slay of NJ Teacher, Found Beaten To Death In Home in 2009

NEPTUNE CITY, N.J. – Police made a break in the 2009 murder of a New Jersey school teacher, arresting three people they said brutally beat her to death during a burglary-gone-bad.

The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office said James Fair, 27, Ebenezer Byrd, 35, and Gregory Jean-Baptiste, 26, all of Asbury Park, have been charged with first degree murder, robbery and numerous other charges related to the Sept. 14, 2009 incident in Neptune City. All are currently in jail on unrelated charges.

Police said the trio planned to burglarize a specific apartment in the Brighton Arms apartment complex, but they broke into the wrong one – and ran into 33-year-old Jonelle Melton inside the apartment.

At that point, prosecutors said the men brutally murdered Melton, who was found the next morning.

Melton was a teacher at Red Bank Middle School, and an active member of the school community.

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