22-year-old sentenced to life in prison in 2016 murder of KCK police captain

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- The man accused of killing a KCK police captain in 2016 has been sentenced to life in prison.

Jamaal Lewis, 22, was sentenced Friday in the death of 46-year-old Capt. Dave Melton. Lewis pleaded guilty in late October to first-degree murder, aggravated assault and  criminal discharge of a firearm

Jamaal Lewis

He received life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years for the murder charge, 13 months for the assault charge and nine months for the firearm charge. Those sentences will run consecutively.

Melton was searching for suspects in a drive-by shooting when he saw Lewis walking and tried to block him with his patrol car. Prosecutors say Lewis pulled a handgun and fired several shots through the passenger-side window of Melton's vehicle. Melton was killed in the shooting.

Lewis' case has been filled with controversial in the past month. He was originally charged with capital murder in Melton's death and was set to go to trial in November. If convicted of the capital murder charge, Lewis could have faced life in prison with no chance of parole.

But first-degree murder was added to Lewis' charges in early October, which he then pleaded guilty to. That lesser charge comes with a lesser sentence.

It's a deal Melton's family said they would never have agreed to, and that angered the family who said they were caught off guard.

Captain Robert “Dave” Melton

"I was taken by surprise with the whole thing," said Zeta Bates, who was engaged to Melton when he was killed.

Melton's family later filed an ethics complaint against the Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree, arguing their rights were violated because they weren't made aware that Lewis could plead guilty to a lesser charge at any time.

At Friday's sentencing, friends, family and the KCK police chief all told the judge how Melton's death affected them and the community.

But it felt as though it wasn't just a sentencing for Lewis, but also for Dupree. Melton's family expressed its outrage in court that Lewis could be released from prison at a younger age than Melton was when he died.

"He ought to be gracious when he thanks his attorneys for doing a great job because I believe his best attorney was at the other table," John Melton, Dave Melton's brother, said referring to Dupree.

Perhaps one of the most heartbreaking moments of the emotional sentencing was a letter read from Melton's 13-year-old daughter who said she was especially missing her dad Friday because it was her birthday.

Dupree held a press conference Friday evening, sharing his side of the plea and sentencing. Hear his full statement in the video below.

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