Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Behavior after arrest, including spitting on Pasco deputy, adds years to man's sentence

NEW PORT RICHEY — Even before Tuesday, William Melendez wasn't going to walk free anytime soon.

He went to trial last year charged with sexually molesting a woman while he held her down and she begged him to stop. Guilty of sexual battery, a jury decided. Prison for 13 years, a judge said.

But the justice Melendez realized in that case pales in comparison to what he may yet face.

He hadn't even arrived at jail before he brought more trouble on himself. According to prosecutors, that day in June 2009 Melendez, 51, was thrashing and cursing about being arrested. He insisted it was all a mistake. He asked the deputy to let him go.

But sheriff's Deputy Eric Biddle didn't let him go, and Melendez cursed and thrashed some more. Then he leaned his face into the cage partition in the patrol car and spat at Biddle, who caught the wet mess in his right ear.

Charge: battery on a law enforcement officer.

In December 2009, after six months of being cooped up in a jail cell, Melendez acted out again, according to the Sheriff's Office.

"Get ready for hell today," he told a jail deputy who came to do a routine search of his cell.

Deputy Jonathan Krisher ordered Melendez to stick his arms through an opening in the cell door used to slide in food trays so Krisher could remove his handcuffs.

But Melendez grabbed Krisher's arms and held on, the Sheriff's Office said. Krisher sprayed his pepper spray, but Melendez managed to grab it.

Krisher called for backup, and deputies armed with Tasers rushed in and tried to subdue Melendez, who used his mattress as a shield and broke the fire sprinkler, sending water pouring into the cell.

A Spanish-speaking deputy finally calmed Melendez.

Krisher suffered cuts and bruises on his arms and a broken finger.

Charges: battery on a law enforcement officer, times five.

Aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, times four.

Depriving an officer of protection, preventing the extinguishing of a fire and aggravated battery of a law enforcement officer.

Altogether, the post-arrest charges add up to a potential sentence of 75 years in prison, prosecutors say.

This week, Melendez, who had been a laborer in Hudson, went to trial on just one of them — the spitting incident in the patrol car.

The trial was short.

"This defendant spit on Deputy Eric Biddle," prosecutor Joe Lawhorne told jurors Tuesday. "It really is that simple."

Defense attorney Dennis Watson prodded at the question of intent. Wasn't it more likely that Biddle got some spit on him accidentally as Melendez was yelling and cursing?

The jury thought not. Guilty as charged.

And Melendez, who called the trial a farce and a violation of his constitutional rights but otherwise kept his cool, went back to jail with four more years tacked on to his sentence, courtesy of Circuit Judge Michael Andrews.

Molly Moorhead can be reached at moorhead@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6245.

Behavior after arrest, including spitting on Pasco deputy, adds years to man's sentence 04/19/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 19, 2011 8:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Putin visits France, hopes to mend strained ties with West

    World

    VERSAILLES, France — On a visit likely to shape Russia-France ties for years, French President Emmanuel Macron hosted Russian President Vladimir Putin at the sumptuous Palace of Versailles on Monday for what the newly-elected French leader said would be "demanding" talks on Syria, the Ukrainian crisis and other …

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, is welcomed by French President Emmanuel Macron at the Palace of Versailles, near Paris, France, Monday. Monday's meeting comes in the wake of the Group of Seven's summit over the weekend where relations with Russia were part of the agenda, making Macron the first Western leader to speak to Putin after the talks. [AP photo]
  2. Five cool things to do when it's hot outside

    Outdoors

    Summer is not officially here, but it may as well be. School is out, vacations are coming, and it's time to enjoy the outdoors. Don't buy the argument that summer in Florida is too hot to get outside. There is plenty to do, and we'll prove it. Here are five cool things to do outdoors during another hot summer.

    Rainbow Springs State Park is a registered natural landmark. Rainbow Springs State Park in Dunnellon is one several state parks with natural swimming holes in Florida. (Octavio Jones | Times)
  3. Clearwater man dies after diving from boat into shallow waters

    Public Safety

    A 49-year-old man died after he jumped off a pontoon boat into shallow waters Sunday in the Gulf of Mexico.

  4. Restaurant review: Features Gastropub in Riverview is fine as movie theater fare, but unimpressive otherwise

    Food & Dining

    Movies aren't exactly dying. Despite all the sturm und drang of predictions that Netflix and streaming videos would kill the cinema, global box office receipts hit $38.6 billion in 2016, a 1 percent gain over the previous year. But that doesn't mean going to the cinema is precisely what it was a generation …

    The Features Gastropub is located inside the Riverview 14 GDX theater in Gibsonton, Fla. on Thursday, May 25, 2017.   The 5,900-square-foot Features Gastropub open in the . This element of the project is the brainchild of Philadelphia chef Brian Duffy, who appears frequently on NBC's The Today Show and the Spike TV show Bar Rescue
  5. JFK's last birthday: Gifts, champagne and wandering hands on the presidential yacht

    Nation

    It has been 100 years since John F. Kennedy's birth on May 29, 1917, at his parents' home in Brookline, Mass., just outside Boston. Over the course of his life, Kennedy enjoyed lavish birthday celebrations, the most famous being a Democratic fundraising bash at Madison Square Garden on May 19, 1962, when a sequined …

    President John F. Kennedy aboard the Sequoia in 1963 opening birthday presents. [Robert Knudsen | John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum]