OPD Investigation Nets Indictment

August 15, 2014

The Opelika Police Department began an investigation into the Murder of Melanie Darchelle Lovelace in 2006. Ms. Lovelace was found stabbed to death in her home on South 3rd Street in Opelika at approximately 6:00 A.M. on November 29, 2006. A suspect was developed in the case at that time; Arthaniel Bernard Stanton, who was Ms. Lovelace’s boyfriend. Stanton, who was 50 years old at the time, was subsequently arrested on a warrant for Murder pursuant to that investigation. The case was later presented to a Grand Jury which returned a “No-Bill”, and Stanton was not indicted. The detectives of the Opelika Police Department continued to investigate the case thoroughly and left no stone unturned. Their continued vigilance and dedication to the victim and her family led them to discover new evidence recently. That evidence was taken to the Lee County District Attorney, Robbie Treese, who presented the case along with the new evidence to a Lee County Grand Jury last week. That Grand Jury handed down a Murder Indictment on Staton. Staton, who is now 58 years old, was located and arrested in Muscogee County, Georgia, earlier this week for that Indictment. Staton waived extradition and was brought back to Alabama on Thursday, 08/14/14. Staton was subsequently booked into the Lee County Detention Center where he awaits further court proceedings. The detectives of the Opelika Police Department have tirelessly continued to work this case, and are continuing their investigation even though it has been eight (8) years since the crime. Additional investigative leads are being followed up on at this time.