ATLANTA — A man convicted of killing an Emory University student told authorities Monday in chilling detail how he raped and murdered the victim and then burned the body and spread the woman’s ashes, a prosecutor said.

Colvin Hinton made the confession in an interview with police at the state prison in Reidsville, where he is serving a life sentence after being convicted last year of the 1994 murder of Shannon Melendi, DeKalb County District Attorney Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming said.

Melendi’s body has never been recovered; Based on Hinton’s claim of how he disposed of it, it is unlikely that Melendi’s remains will ever be found, though authorities will try.

“There were nothing but ashes left,” Keyes Fleming said Hinton told authorities. She described the confession as “what may be the final chapter in the Shannon Melendi case.”

A reporter from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was present for Hinton’s confession.

“I hate what I done,” Hinton said, according to the newspaper. “I know I’ll never, ever be forgiven by most people. And I accept that. But I am so sorry. I’ve hurt so many people with the lies I’ve told.”

Prosecutors planned to release portions of his statement to the public later Monday.

The 19-year-old Miami woman disappeared after leaving a softball field near Decatur.

Melendi’s father said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press that someone connected to the case informed him Monday of the confession.

“Somebody let me know they had a meeting this morning and let me know he confessed,” Melendi said.

He declined to elaborate.

The prosecutor said Hinton told police he kidnapped Melendi at knifepoint from the softball field, took her to his home, tied her up, raped her and later strangled her.

He then burned the body in several fire pits he dug in his backyard and disposed of the ashes somewhere else, Keyes Fleming said.

“He said he is in fact Shannon Melendi’s killer,” Keyes Fleming said.

Asked about a motive and Hinton’s reason for confessing, Keyes Fleming said, “It’s very hard to get into the mind of any killer. There’s some indication he was clearing his conscience.”

Earlier Monday, the state Supreme Court rejected a request by Hinton to reconsider its decision upholding his conviction.

That means the court’s June 12 decision affirming Hinton’s conviction will stand.

Melendi had worked as a scorekeeper at a game where Hinton was an umpire. For years authorities suspected that Hinton, who had served time previously for abducting women, was involved in the slaying, but he wasn’t charged until 2004.

Hinton was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Fellow inmates with whom he served time in federal prison testified that Hinton had made incriminating statements to them about the Melendi case.

React to this story:



Recommended for you