Melanie Eam Sentenced to 50 Years for Murdering James Barry After He Broke Up with Her

Florida woman Melanie Eam was sentenced Wednesday in the second-degree murder of her ex-boyfriend James Barry, according to records reviewed by Law&Crime. She will spend 50 years behind bars, with 866 days time served credited.

Prosecutors convinced jurors that Eam stabbed Barry to death on November 17, 2016, shortly after he ended their 2-year relationship. They were close. Testimony at trial established that Eam often visited Barry’s home and cooked. Everybody seemed to get along.

Eam, however, didn’t want to let Barry go when he broke up with her.

Prosecutors said Eam fled the scene of the murder, but left her cell phone behind. They also said she briefly dropped by her parents’ home, stopped at an ATM, then escaped to Maryland.

Investigators followed Eam north after a cousin of hers contacted them. They interview her and she admitted to the murder, prosecutors said. That changed when Sam was in custody.

Her defense tried to pin the murder on Guy Hand, the boyfriend of Barry’s mother. They tried to suggest he was angry at Eam for somehow taking advantage of hospitality at their home, and that Hand might have killed the victim as part of an argument.

To say the least, Hand seemed content with Eam’s sentence.

Eam plans on appealing.

[Mugshot via Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office]

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Aaron Keller is an attorney licensed in two states. He holds a juris doctor degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law and a broadcast journalism degree from Syracuse University. During law school, he completed legal residencies in the Office of the New Hampshire Attorney General and in a local prosecutor’s office. He was employed as a summer associate in the New Hampshire Department of Safety, which manages the state police, and further served as a summer law clerk for a New York trial judge. Before law school, Keller worked for television stations in New York and in the Midwest, mostly as an evening news anchor and investigative reporter. His original reporting on the Wisconsin murder of Teresa Halbach was years later featured in the Netflix film "Making A Murderer."

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