News / Halifax

Jimmy Melvin Jr. gets six months in jail for threatening to kill corrections officer

Melvin Jr. pled guilty to threatening an officer in 2015 when he was in a Pictou County jail.

Jimmy Melvin Jr.

Metro file

Jimmy Melvin Jr.

Notorious Halifax crime figure Jimmy Melvin Jr. was sentenced to six months in prison this week after pleading guilty to threatening to kill a corrections officer.

James Bernard Melvin, 34, otherwise known as Jimmy Melvin Jr., was sentenced in Pictou provincial court Tuesday on a single charge of uttering a threat to cause death to a corrections officer at the North East Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Priestville on Nov. 28, 2015.

Crown attorney Patrick Young told the court that Melvin was being held in segregation at the facility when corrections officers entered his cell to remove a mattress. He refused to comply with requests leading to a struggle and him being pepper sprayed.

Following a shower, Melvin was taken back to his cell and asked several times to hand over a towel he had been given to dry his face.  He refused and spit toward the door of the cell. He looked at the corrections officer videotaping the interaction and told her she was dead and if he saw her in the north end of Halifax, she would be getting her legs broken.

Young said he continued to yell derogatory names at the officer and stated several more times that he was going to kill her and she should watch her back.

The Crown attorney said Melvin has a long list of violent criminal convictions including nine for uttering threats. He said the accused’s pre-sentence report is “bleak” since he only has a Grade 6 education, no employment and a history of drug use.

He said the corrections officer was carrying out her duties under the law when she was subjected to the verbal abuse. He recommended the court consider a sentence of 12 to 15 months.

Defence lawyer Doug Lloy said his client’s mental health has deteriorated greatly because of the long period he has spent in isolation in prison facilities.

“It has eaten away at his mental health,” said Lloy, adding that Melvin’s family has echoed the concern.

Lloy said his client has harmed himself in the past in an attempt to be released from segregation and as a result of time in isolation has a “deep seed of suspicion” in regard to the justice system. He is convinced it is not there to help him.

“He was peppered sprayed and videotaped and vented his frustration on the victim,” he said, adding that a three-month jail sentence would be appropriate.

Melvin apologized to the court for his threats to the victim, but he said after 18 months in segregation, he is unsure if he is “coming or going.”

He said he is housed in cells at the North East Nova Scotia Correctional Facility that have cameras used for people on suicide watch, which makes him think that he is suicidal. He added that he is tired of fighting for the “necessities of life” when he is in prison, such as toilet paper and reading materials.

Judge Del Atwood said Melvin’s charge is a result of verbal abuse and “extremely chilling threats” that rose out of his lengthy time in segregation, being pepper sprayed and the fact that he was being videotaped.

He said he considers the incident to be a mid- to low-range occurrence, adding it is unlikely Melvin intended to carry out the threats.

Atwood sentenced Melvin to six months in prison and he must pay a $200 victim surcharge within the next 24 months.

Melvin is currently on remand facing a first-degree murder charge in the 2009 slaying of Terry Marriott Jr. He was charged in July 2015, and that trial is set for 2017.

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