Red Bank Teacher’s Murderers Convicted On All Counts

(Photo courtesy of Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office)

FREEHOLD – Three men charged with the 2009 murder of a Red Bank Middle School teacher were found guilty of murder among other charges.

Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni said the three men were found guilty on all counts: first-degree felony murder, first-degree robbery, second-degree conspiracy, second-degree burglary, second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon.

Ebenezer Byrd, 39, and Gregory A. Jean-Baptiste, 30, both of Asbury Park, were also found guilty of first-degree witness tampering.

Byrd and the third man, Jerry J. Spraulding, 41, of Keansburg, were also convicted of second-degree certain persons not to possess weapons.

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The nine-week trial concluded with two days of deliberations.

The men face 30 years to life imprisonment, and must serve 85 percent of any sentence beyond the 30 years before becoming eligible for parole.

Spraulding is scheduled for sentencing May 16; Jean-Baptiste May 23; and Byrd May 30, all before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Joseph W. Oxley.

The men are convicted of killing Jonelle Melton, who was found dead in her Neptune City apartment Sept. 14, 2009. The men, along with a fourth man, James Fair, had planned to burglarize a different apartment, and upon learning they were in the wrong location, murdered Melton. Fair is already serving an 82-year prison sentence, for 78 crimes committed in 2017. He pleaded guilty in November 2017 for his role in Melton’s murder. He is ineligible for parole until Jan. 3, 2065.