Opelika police said Friday they left "no stone unturned" in their continued investigation into the 2006 murder of Melanie Lovelace, eventually resulting in the indictment of her boyfriend earlier this month.
"The detectives of the Opelika Police Department continued to investigate the case thoroughly and left no stone unturned," the department said in a news release Friday. "Their continued vigilance and dedication to the victim and her family led them to discover new evidence recently."
That evidence — police declined to provide specifics — was presented to Lee County District Attorney Robbie Treese, who in turn presented it again to a grand jury this summer. The 58-year-old Staton was indicted for Lovelace's Nov. 29, 2006 stabbing death on Aug. 7.
He was arrested in Muscogee County on Wednesday and extradited to Lee County on Thursday.
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"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 years since the crime," the department said.
Police developed Staton as a suspect almost immediately after discovering Lovelace in the bedroom of her South Third Street home. Two of Lovelace’s young children were present in the home and, according to an affidavit, her 9-year-old son told police at the time that he saw Staton leave Lovelace’s bedroom “with a bloody knife, blood on his clothes and run from the residence.”
Staton was arrested in late 2006 for Lovelace's murder, but the grand jury did not indict.
But this time the grand jury "reviewed the case and felt there was enough to indict," said Lee County Chief Assistant District Attorney Kisha Abercrombie, who will likely try the case.
Court records show that Staton has been convicted of aggravated assault and grand larceny, in 1978; convicted of aiding a prisoner in escaping, in 1988; and in 2000 he was charged with aggravated sodomy, carrying a concealed weapon and aggravated assault, among other charges.
Staton's decades-long criminal history includes arrests in Russell, St. Clair and Muscogee counties, as well as by Atlanta police.