Articles

Mele murder suspect appears in court

Perry Van Houten, Ojai Valley News reporter
A homeless man accused in the stabbing death of a former Oak View resident appeared in court for his arraignment April 27 where his bail amount was raised.
Jamal Jackson, 49, had a not-guilty plea entered on his behalf and his bail was upped from $1 million to $3 million.
Jackson is charged with premeditated first-degree murder for the death of 35-year-old Anthony Mele, of Ventura.
The stabbing occurred April 18 while Mele was dining with his wife and 5-year-old daughter at the Aloha Steakhouse in Ventura.
According to Ventura police, Jackson allegedly entered the beachside restaurant at approximately 9:20 p.m. and stabbed Mele in the neck with a knife.
The unprovoked attack happened while Mele was holding his daughter in his lap.
She was not physically injured.
After the stabbing, restaurant patrons and staff chased Jackson onto the beach, where police arrested him.
Mele died April 19 at Ventura County Medical Center.
Jackson appeared at his arraignment without an attorney.
He refused the appointment of a public defender and asked for a two-week extension.
Despite Jackson's objections, Ventura County Superior Court Judge Ferdinand Inumerable ordered him to enter a plea of not guilty to the murder charge and set an early disposition conference for May 8.
Senior Deputy Public Defender Andre Nintcheff entered the not-guilty plea for Jackson.
Inumerable also agreed to a motion by Senior Deputy District Attorney Richard Simon to raise Jackson's bail to $3 million.
Simon cited a threat to public safety and the random nature of the attack for the increased bail.
Jackson, who was remanded into custody at the Ventura County Jail, faces a maximum possible sentence of 55 years to life in prison.
Mele, who grew up in Oak View, was a 2001 graduate of Nordhoff High School.
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