Antonio Brito Melendez, of Calhoun, facing charges of aggravated assault, battery

Judge rejects bond reduction for man accused of shooting two people

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A motion to reduce the bond amount for a man who allegedly shot two people at a party last fall was denied in Bartow Superior Court last Tuesday.

According to Bartow County Sheriff’s Office data, Antonio Brito Melendez, of Calhoun, was arrested on Nov. 19, 2018, and booked on charges of aggravated battery and aggravated assault involving a firearm. 

“The defendant had gotten into an argument out in the parking area with his girlfriend,” said Cherokee Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth York. “He had pulled a gun out that he had kept in the car, based on the statements of the witnesses. Initially, he had pointed the gun at the girlfriend. She ended up being shot, as well as a bystander who was there who tried to intervene.”

York said both victims were transported to a medical center for treatment of their injuries.

“The reason we’ve had a little bit of a delay, we sent the clothing and the different items down to the crime lab to be tested for DNA, so we’re still waiting for that,” York said. “They are aware of the fact that he is in custody and I have asked for it to be expedited, but we are still pending.”

Public defender Kelley Dial said a preliminary hearing in the case was held about two weeks ago. 

“What I think we came out of the prelim knowing is that this is a case with probably some trial issues,” she said. “Things occurred at a party, so you’ve got multiple witnesses, I think, that will probably have multiple stories … it looks to me like a case that very well may end up being a trial case.”

Melendez’s bond was initially set at $40,000, with conditions that he refrain from having contact with the alleged victims or possessing a firearm.

York said the charges are the only Georgia Crime Information Center (GCIC) cycles for the defendant.

“At this point, the State is concerned about his ties to the area,” she said. “He’s a resident, but he’s not a citizen.”

Dial, however, said she is not aware of any United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement holds on the defendant — nor any other holds, for that matter. 

Nevertheless, Judge Smith denied Dial’s motion to reduce Melendez’s bond. 

“I think that’s perfectly reasonable bond when you’re talking about shooting two individuals,” York commented.