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JOSEPH L.

MELTON INITIAL HEARING


July 13, 2018

Judge: We're on the record in case number 4:18CR3070 United


States of America versus Joseph L. Melton. Counsel please enter your
appearance.
Matt Molsen: Matt Molsen for the Government.
Jon Vanderslice: John Vanderslice on behalf of Mr. Melton.
Judge: Mr. Melton you are here today because a petition has
been filed which alleges that you have violated the terms of your
supervised release.
Vanderslice: Judge
Judge: Excuse me.
Vanderslice: Pardon me Judge. This is a new indictment.
Judge: Oh! Thank you. *chuckles* I got you mixed up with the
next hearing. Sorry about that sir. Um. Mr. Melton you are here
today because an idictment has been filed against you which
alleges that you have violated federal criminal law. Have you seen a
copy of the indictment?
Joseph Melton: Yes ma'am.
Judge: Alright. And are you Joseph L. Melton?
Melton: Yes ma'am.
Judge: At this time I'm going to have the Government explain to
you the charges you're facing and the possible penalty on those
charges. Mr. Molsen.
Molsen: Yes Your Honor. Uh sir the indictment alleges in count
one than on or about November 8 of 2017 in the district of
Nebraska that you did knowingly possess a firearm, that being a
Yankee Hill Machine Company Inc silencer for a .308 caliber firearm
with a serial number TI312724 not registered to you in the National
Firearm Registration and Transfer Records in violation of Title 26 in
United States Code Sections 5841, 5861(d), and 5871. Count two
alleges that on or about November 8 of 2017 in the district of
Nebraska that you did knowingly possess a firearm, that being a
silencer marked with the company Leadfoot's logo measuring
approximately 7-3/4 inches in length and 1-1/2 inches in diameter
not identified by a serial number as required by chapter 53 of Title
26 in violation of Title 26 in violation of United States Code
Section 5861(i) and 5871. Each of those charges are separately
punishable but up to 10 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $10,000,
or any combination of such fine and imprisonments. Up to three years
of supervised release and a $100 special assessment. Sir do you
understand both the nature of the offenses as well as the
possible penalties?
Melton: Yes I understand.
Judge: I need to make sure you understand your constitutional
rights. You have the right to remain silent. What that means is that
you do not have to say anything about the charges in any court
proceeding. You do not have to provide a statement to the Government
or anybody asking for information on behalf of the Government. If
you've already provided a statement you do not have to say
anything more and if you ever start answering questions you can stop
answering those questions at any time. But you need to understand
that what you choose to say to anyone other than your lawyer can and
will be used against you. Do you understand your right to remain
silent?
Melton: Yes your honor.
Judge: You have the right to counsel and if you cannot afford
counsel, counsel will be appointed for you at no cost to you. Do I
have a financial on this gentleman?
Unkown Party: I faxed it.
Judge: Ok. Hold on just a second. Ok I will look in my fax
here. Let's see. Alright. I do have it. Thank you. I do find that you
are entitled to appointed cousel and Mr. Vanderslice who is seated
next to you is appointed to represent you. Do you understand your
right to counsel?
Melton: Yes your honor.
Judge: You have a right to a jury trial. At that trial you'll
have the right to see and hear the witnesses wwho testify against you
and to have them cross-examined on your behalf. You'll have the right
to call witnesses for you and if they will not come voluntarily, you
can get a court order called a subpoena to make them come and
testify. At the trial you can testify yourself if you want to or you
can exercise your right to remain silent. If you remain silent at the
trial, the jury will not be allowed to consider that silence in
deciding if you are guilty. And at the trial the Government is not
going to get a conviction against you unless it is able to prove to
every single juror that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Do
you understand those trial rights?
Melton: Yes your honor.
Judge: How does your client wish to plead?
Vanderslice: Not guilty to both counts.
Judge: A not guilty plea is entered and this case is assigned
to Judge Gerrard for a three day trial beginning on September 10th.
I'll order reciprocal discovery to be exchanged within 14 days of
today. Pretrial motions need to be filed by August 13th. Any reason
to otherwise not adopt the normal progression schedule Mr. Molsen?
Molsen: No your honor.
Judge: Mr. Vandeslice?
Vanderslice: No judge.
Judge: That brings us to the issue of detention. What is the
Government's position?
Molsen: Your honor the Government's going to be asking for
detention. And I've had kind of uh some unusual circumstances here
and I wanna, I've got a proposal for the Court and I want to run it
by you and see if my proposal would be okay. I've got, u,,
Investigator Shelton is going to testify that Mr. Melton was not
honest with them at a couple points during the investigation. I'll of
course offer the pretrial service report and the indictment. Beyond
that, I've had somewhere in the ball park of two dozen phone calls
today, most of those are in the form of voicemail. The ones I've had
the chance to listen to thus far with the exception of one from Mr.
Melton's sister have all expressed great concern about Mr. Melton
re-entering the community. Basically saying that they fear him, that
they're terrified of him, they think he's a great danger to the
community. The..
Judge: Do we know who they, who's making these calls?
Molsen: Yes we do. They're leaving their name and number. A
couple of them have expressed to me concern about their name and
number being released to the defendant because they fear reprisal.
So, as far as the issue of detention goes where there's not a right
of confrontation and the rules of evidence don't apply, my suggestion
is that I offer those. I can have those all copied to a CD. And I can
provide a copy to you and I can provide a copy to Mr. Vanderslice to
review as well. Of all of the voicemails that I've received thus far.
And then offer that into evidence. I won't be able to get that done
until this afternoon.
Judge: Let me ask something. Are you requesting release?
Vanderslice: Yes. Today.
Judge: Okay.
Molsen: What I'm proposing is we can either have a bifurcated
hearing. I don't know if Mr. Melton has people here today that are
ready to testify. If they do, one option would be that we have a
bifurcated hearing we have the witnesses that are here today and can
testify today. I also have an exhibit of a protection order that was
filed. A court made a finding and filed it. It contains some
information in there as well.
Judge: Why don't we start what we can of the hearing today.
We're not going to get it done today. And, under the rules it doesn't
have to be done today. It is our practice to try and get it done in
the same day but it can't always happen. And today is a prime example
of that. So why don't we get done what we can today and then when we
get to the point where we're out of evidence or out of time whichever
comes first we'll figure out what needs to happen and what the next
date is that we need to come toward.
Molsen: Very good.
Judge: The Government may proceed.
Molsen: Alright. Your honor I'd ask that if you'd just take
notice of the indictment as well as the pretrial service report.
Judge: Any reason I should not?
Vanderslice: No judge.
Judge: I will do so.
Molsen: I would also offer exhibit 1. I emailed Mr. Vanderslice
a copy in advance of the hearing this is the protective order I
mentioned a couple moments ago.
Judge: Okay.
Molsen: Just to make things easier, I had marked where the
start of an affidavit begins. And basically paragraphs, approximately
paragraphs one through eleven contain most of the just of that
person's factual basis for the protective order that was granted. So
that's the part that I would highlight and bring to the court's
attention.
Judge: Alright, any objection to exhibit one?
Vanderslice: No.
Judge: Alright. Exhibit one is received.
Molsen: And I'd also call Investigator Corey Shelton to
testify.
Judge: Okay. Mr. Shelton. Investigator Shelton.
Molsen: I'm sorry. Agent Corey Shelton. That was my mistake.
Judge: Is it agent, investigator, or mister?
Cory Shelton: Agent
Judge: Agent. Okay.
Clerk: Please state your full name for the record and spell
your last name.
Shelton: Cory Shelton. S-H-E-L-T-O-N.
Clerk: Please raise your right hand. Do you solemnly swear to
tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
Shelton: Yes I do.
Molsen: Agent Shelton, how are you currently employed?
Shelton: I'm currently employed as a special agent with the
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
Molsen: And how long have you been so employed?
Shelton: A little over four years.
Molsen: Are you familiar with the investigation into Mr.
Melton?
Shelton: Yes.
Molsen: On August 24th of 2017 did ATF go to a Leadfoot company
store in Holdrege, Nebraska to conduct an inspection?
Shelton: Yes.
Judge: Did you say Leadfoot?
Molsen: Mhm
Judge: Okay. Thank you.
Molsen: And just for basic background information, does ATF
conduct inspections of people who hold federal firearms licenses?
Shelton: Yes they do.
Molsen: And does that include companies or people who own or
possess licenses to manufacture items such as silencers?
Shelton: Yes they do.
Molsen: Are silencers regulated beyond a normal firearm?
Shelton: Yes they are
Molsen: Are there special rules and regulations that a company
that manufacturer and ownership are in possession of silencers?
Shelton: Yes
Molsen: Based on the investigation that you're aware of, is Mr.
Melton an owner of Leadfoot company?
Shelton: Yes, that's correct.
Molsen: Based on your knowledge of the investigation, is it
that company's business to manufacture silencers for distribution?
Shelton: Yes and also I believe that there is a second partner
involved in the business but does not have day to day involvement
with it.
Molsen: So on August 24th of 2017 did ATF show up at Mr.
Leadfoot's store in Holdrege, NE for the purpose of conducting an
inspection?
Shelton: Yes
Molsen: Are these inspections.. Are these done often times to
people who hold firearms licenses
Shelton: Yes, ATF conducts inspections.. I'm not an inspector,
I'm not sure what the time cycle or interval is at which they do it
but there is regular inspections that occur.
Molsen: And are these sometimes unanounced?
Shelton: Yes
Molsen: Did you go with the inspectors on August 24th of 2017
for the inspection?
Shelton: Yes I did.
Molsen: Were you with the inspectors when they arrived at the
store?
Shelton: Yes
Molsen: Did they attempt to make contact with Mr. Melton at
that time?
Shelton: Yes they did.
Molsen: What happened at that point?
Shelton: There was no answer from Mr Melton at the shop.
Molsen: Were further attempts to contact Mr Melton made at that
point?
Shelton: Yes
Molsen: What types of attempts were made?
Shelton: We walked around to adjacent businesses, talked to
individuals that were there to see when the last time that they had
seen or spoken with Mr Melton. And I believe that Inspector Kubert
had also attempted to call Mr Melton.
Molsen: Was he successful in reaching him?
Shelton: No
Molsen: Was phone contact with Mr Melton eventually obtained?
Shelton: Yes
Molsen: How did that happen
Shelton: I don't know exact timeline on it but Investigator
Kubert did make phone contact with Mr. Melton who had stated that he
was in Colorado.
Molsen: Did Mr Melton call him or did the inspector call Mr
Melton
Shelton: My understanding is that Investigator Kubert called Mr
Melton in an attempt to gaining his whereabouts.
Molsen: Once that phone call.. Once Mr Melton was reached by
phone was he asked where he was?
Shelton: Yes
Molsen: And what did Mr. Melton say?
Shelton: He stated that he was in Colorado.
Molsen: Did Mr. Melton say that he wasn't going to be able to
make it back for the inspection because he was in Colorado?
Shelton: That's correct.
Molsen: What was the inspector's response
Shelton: From speaking with the inspector, the inspector stated
to send him a picture or some sort of proof; a screenshot, a picture
on the phone just to show that he was in fact where he said he was.
Molsen: Would it be something in mind of a picture of him with
a landmark in the background?
Shelton: Correct
Molsen: What was Mr Melton's response to that request
Shelton: I don't recall off the top of my head.
Molsen: Did he ever receive such a picture
Shelton: No
Molsen: Was Mr Melton eventually contacted that day and did the
inspection eventually take place
Shelton: Yes
Molsen: Did Mr Melton say whether or not he actually was in
Colorado
Shelton: Mr Melton had advised that he had been in Nebraska the
entire time
Molsen: And so his earlier statement that he was in Colorado
was not accurate, is that right?
Shelton: That's correct.
Molsen: Did he give any indication or reason as to why he said
he was in Colorado when he was not
Shelton: He said that he was afraid that he had issues with his
records
Molsen: And he was referring to the inspection?
Shelton: Correct
Molsen: So basically he wasn't ready for the inspection
Shelton: Correct
Molsen: Once the inspection took place was Mr Melton present
inside the shop when that was being done
Shelton: Yes he was
Molsen: Among other questions was he asked if all manufacturing
for the silencers is done in shop
Shelton: Along the lines of that, yeah. I don't recall the
exact wording on it but the general basis was "show me how the
manufacturing process occurs, show me which tools you use" along
those lines
Molsen: When they asked him to show them how it's done, how did
Mr Melton respond
Shelton: He walked myself and Investigator Kubert to the back.
There were some machining equipment. I'm not 100% sure but I believe
there was a lathe for turning of some sort and then a drill press of
some sort. And he stated that his manufacturing had occured in this
back room.
Molsen: Did he say whether the.. Let's back up here. A
silencer.. Basically the anatomy of a silencer is essentially a tube
that attaches to the barrel of a firearm
Shelton: Correct
Molsen: And are there chambers within there that are designed
to capture air that comes out the barrel
Shelton: Generally yes, that's the general design is that
there's a series of air chambers that absorb the gases which is a
part of what creates the sound.
Molsen: Those chambers within the tube, are those sometimes
made of what are called baffles
Shelton: Yes
Molsen: And did Mr Melton show you baffles from the inside of a
silencer during this inspection process
Shelton: I don't recall if I personally saw them or not. I was
only there for about the first two hours of the inspection at which
point myself and the other agent left.
Molsen: From speaking with the other inspector as in reviewing
reports did he advise other inspectors or did he show other
inspectors the baffles from inside the silencers?
Shelton: Yes
Molsen: And did he indicate whether they were machine made or
if they were made by hand
Shelton: I believe he stated that he manufactured them by hand
without using a jig
Molsen: So basically each one by hand
Shelton: Correct
Molsen: Were the inspectors doubtful of that claim?
Shelton: Yes
Molsen: And why was that
Shelton: They were microscopically identical. I mean not
microscopically but visual to the eye they were too precise to be
handmade without a jig
Molsen: Did he eventually admit that the baffles were not
manufactured in his shop
Shelton: Yes he did
Molsen: And who did he say manufactured the baffles
Shelton: I believe Investigator Kubert told me that it was
Penrose out of Grand Island.
Molsen: Now for a shop like this shop that has a license to
manufacture silencers, are they allowed to outsource some of the
machining
Shelton: They are but the business that it's being outsourced
to must receive approval from ATF. And there has to be a variance and
a marking variance and then a license for that company to manufacture
Molsen: Is that because these are special NFA items
Shelton: Correct
Molsen: NFA standing for the National Firearm Act
Shelton: Yes
Molsen: In this case to your knowledge was Penrose. Were they
properly licensed or did they receive the proper paperwork from ATF
authorizing them to makes these baffles
Shelton: No
Molsen: His original statement that they were all made in
house, that was not accurate
Shelton: That's correct
Molsen: And so they were actually, part of them were being
outsourced to this company that was not licensed
Shelton: That's correct
Molsen: If we back up to the point where contact was first
attempted being made with Mr Melton before the inspection took place.
Did you or other inspectors have contact with Mr Melton's girlfriend
Shelton: Yes
Molsen: And where did that take place at
Shelton: We ended up speaking with her at the bank which would
be located just north of Leadfoot, the actual physical storefront
Molsen: Can you describe for us the interaction you had with
her
Shelton: We spoke with her. Asked her just some basic questions
as far as when was the last time she had spoken with Mr Melton. I
believe she stated that it was earlier in that day. We had asked
where was he. I believe she responded that he was in Colorado, that
he had left earlier in that morning. I had asked if I could see her
phone just to look at her text messages or phone dialogue because Mr
Melton was being evasive towards our inspection at that point at
which point she refused.
Molsen: Did you explain to her that if she was obstructing or
helping him avoid detection by law enforcement that she could be in
trouble
Shelton: Yes I did
Molsen: What happened at that time
Shelton: I believe that was about the end of our contact with
her at which point we left and shortly thereafter Mr Melton had
reached out to IOI Kubert or Inspector Kubert
Molsen: And was that the first contact that was made with him
after that conversation with his girlfriend
Shelton: I don't know that. I'm not sure what order of contact.
What there was. All I'm aware of is that after speaking with Mr
Melton's girlfriend that Mr Melton had reached out to Inspector
Kubert shortly thereafter.
Molsen: If you had to estimate how long between when you..
Shelton: Less than 10 minutes
Molsen: Okay very good. I have no further questions at this
time
Judge: Cross examination
Vanderslice: Thank you judge. Investigator Shelton. It's Cory.
Could you spell Cory
Shelton: C-O-R-Y
Vanderslice: C-O-R-Y. Thank you. Alright so you and
Investigator
Shelton: Kubert
Vanderslice: Kubert. K-U-B-E-R-T?
Shelton: Yes sir
Vanderslice: Went to Holdrege to look at Leadfoot
Shelton: There were a couple. It was Inspector Kubert, there
was another inspector. Vickers I believe. He's a newer inspector so
he went as a shadow and then myself and another special agent.
Vanderslice: Please identify those other agents.
Shelton: Myself and I believe it was Special Agent Anthony
Sorenson.
Vanderslice: Sorenson. All ATF?
Shelton: Yes sir.
Vanderslice: Okay. Did you have any local law enforcement with
you on that day?
Shelton: No
Vanderslice: Were you dressed in suit and tie or how were you
attired
Shelton: We were dressed in plain clothes
Vanderslice: Plain clothes. Okay.
Shelton: Yes sir
Vanderslice: Did you have weapons showing
Shelton: No
Vanderslice: Were you carrying weapons?
Shelton: *chuckles* Yes
Vanderslice: Okay. Was there something funny about that?
Shelton: No, I just wasn't sure what the relevance was.
Vanderslice: That will be up for the judge to decide. Alright
so apparently you took issue with the fact that Mr Shelton wasn't
right up front with you related to you wanting to inspect Leadfoot on
that day. Correct?
Shelton: Mr Melton?
Vanderslice: Mr Melton. Melton Shelton excuse me. Mr Melton
Shelton: Yes
Vanderslice: Alright. You wanted him to be honest with you and
he wasn't basically correct
Shelton: I wasn't there for the inspection. The inspectors were
there for the inspections. So we were trying to locate Mr Melton so
that they could begin their inspection.
Vanderslice: What were you there for
Shelton: I was there as, for lack of a better term, security if
you will. Depending upon numerous circumstances the inspectors can
ask for an agent or two agents to go with them to an inspection which
is why we were only there for the first day.
Vanderslice: Alright and so Leadfoot apparently through your
direct testimony is a licensed firearm dealer correct
Shelton: Correct
Vanderslice: So would that be Mr Shelton. Mr Melton personally
or is it Leadfoot, LLC that has the firearms certificate
Shelton: I believe it's Leadfoot with Mr Melton listed as a
responsible party or the primary contact is my understanding
Vanderslice: And do you know who the other owner of Leadfoot is
Shelton: I believe is it Mr Dahlgren
Vanderslice: I'm asking you
Shelton: I don't know how to spell the name or the actual
pronunciation. I believe it's Mr Dahlgren is all I've heard.
Vanderslice: Does Mr Melton live in the same building as
Leadfoot do you know
Shelton: I believe he does but my recollection is that the
building had different addresses depending upon which side so I don't
recall which door or which address. I know there was a discrepancy
with addresses and I don't know exactly which address. But my
understand is that he lived in that building.
Vanderslice: Okay or close to in another adjacent building
Shelton: Yes correct
Vanderslice: Alright now as a licensed firearm dealer there are
particular rules that have to be followed through regulation correct
Shelton: Correct
Vanderslice: And that sounds like it's even more detailed
related to silencers or suppressors is that correct meaning there's a
special body of rules just specifically related to silencers
Shelton: Correct. Even to make silencers its an additional or
specialized compartment inside of it
Vanderslice: And was this the first inspection that ATF
conducted on Leadfoot to your knowledge
Shelton: I believe so
Vanderslice: And how long did Mr Melton have his firearms
license as of August 24th of 17 if you know
Shelton: I don't know
Vanderslice: Okay do you know if it was years or just a short
period of time
Shelton: I don't know
Vanderslice: Do you know if ATF inspections are scheduled on a
regular basis such as quarterly or semi-annually or annually
Shelton: My understand is that there's no set schedule but. And
this is just my understanding, but is generally speaking there's a
time period after a person becomes licensed that they ideally like to
do their first inspection. And then there is guidelines. I don't know
if they're guidelines or requirements as far as how often after that
but I know that any gun dealer or manufacturer as a part of the ATF
license is subject to inspection at any point.
Vanderslice: Would it be fair to assume that once a person gets
licensed, ATF follows up fairly quickly to go and do their first
inspection
Shelton: I have no background in that
Vanderslice: You don't know. Okay. So it wasn't unusual that
this was the first inspection for Leadfoot
Shelton: No. My understanding no.
Vanderslice: Mr Melton ultimately told you that.. I think this
is what you said on direct.. That he had some concerns about his
paperwork or something like that related to the Leadfoot business
Shelton: Correct. Yes sir
Vanderslice: Okay and that's why he was being evasive with you
Shelton: That was my understanding yes
Vanderslice: Okay. Now you talked to his girlfriend. I don't
think you stated her name. Can you tell us her name please.
Shelton: Through reviewing report, all I can recall is Shelby.
I don't recall her last name.
Vanderslice: Shelby Monthey?
Shelton: Possibly
Vanderslice: Alright she's in the court room. Do you recognize
her
Shelton: Yes
Vanderslice: Okay that's the person that you spoke with Shelby
in the back of the court room
Shelton: I believe so yes
Vanderslice: Alright and she told you.. Well basically you told
her that she could be charged with obstruction if she wasn't truthful
with you about where her boyfriend was
Shelton: That's correct. That was at the end of speaking with
her when I felt like we weren't getting the whole story and they were
being evasive I was very forthcoming with her and explained to her
that if she aided or obstructed the investigation that she could
potentially be referred for prosecution as well.
Vanderslice: What were you intimidating to her
Shelton: No sir
Vanderslice: Were you bullying her
Shelton: Not at all
Vanderslice: Alright. So through your direct testimony it
sounds like Mr Melton also had a license to transact in silencers.
Shelton: That's correct
Vanderslice: Okay does that include manufacturing silencers
Shelton: I don't know which specific license does what but my
understand was that he was a licensed manufacturer for silencers
Vanderslice: Right he's got a website about that too doesn't he
Shelton: Correct
Vanderslice: Right about Leadfoot and how to make silencers and
some of the rules that go along with that correct
Shelton: I believe so yes
Vanderslice: You've seen that website haven't you
Shelton: I believe I have. It's been about a year but yeah I
believe I've seen it
Vanderslice: Now you said also during direct that there's some
technical rules related to outsourcing parts for silencers correct
Shelton: It's outsourcing parts for any stages of manufacturing
Vanderslice: Of silencers or firearms in general
Shelton: Firearms in general
Vanderslice: Now silencers technically are firearms under the
US Code correct
Shelton: Correct
Vanderslice: Okay and as far as the outsourcing is concerned do
you know what those rules are specifically
Shelton: No
Vanderslice: Okay but you had concerns about whether or not Mr
Melton was getting parts from an outsourced.. Let's call them
distributor or parts person or entity correct
Shelton: Can you repeat that first part
Vanderslice: Yeah you had concerns about whether or not Mr
Melton was doing the outsourcing correctly
Shelton: That would've been something brought up by the
inspectors that actually.. The inspectors are those who actually are
the oversight and the regulatory side of the actual manufacturing
process. The agents are not versed in that.
Vanderslice: Oh I see and you were just there for back up so
you weren't really getting into the nuts and bolts of compliance with
regulations and such correct
Shelton: Correct
Vanderslice: Okay thank you. Now are you the.. Did you
transport Mr Melton from Holdrege to Lincoln
Shelton: Yes
Vanderslice: Okay were there other agents in the car
Shelton: Yes there was
Vanderslice: Alright did you have any problems with Mr Melton
during that transport
Shelton: No
Vanderslice: Okay. And on the day that you met with him on
August 24th of 2017 after you started meeting with him face to face
was he compliant with ATF and all of the folks who were doing the
inspection
Shelton: To my recollection yes
Vanderslice: No violence, no derogatory language anything like
that
Shelton: No Sir
Vanderslice: He was respectful to you wasn't he
Shelton: Yes sir
Vanderslice: Okay thank you. Nothing else judge
Judge: Redirect?
Molsen: No your honor
Judge: You may step down
Shelton: Thank you judge
Judge: Now where are we at on the evidence from the Government
Molsen: Outside of this CD that I intend to offer I have no
further evidence
Judge: Okay Mr Vanderslice did you have witnesses here you
wanted to call
Vanderslice: I do judge I call Shelby Monthey
Judge: Okay before you do that. Mr Russell can we move that
matter that I had with you to later today is that possible or is that
going to interrupt something, Okay alright. I'll call you when we can
get it fit in okay? Thank you.
Clerk: Please state your full name for the record and spell
your last name.
Monthey: Shelby N. Monthey. M-O-N-T-H-E-Y
Clerk: Please raise your right hand. Do you solemnly swear to
tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth
Monthey: I do.
Judge: You may proceed.
Vanderslice: Thank you judge. I'm sorry I was talking to Joseph
while you were getting sworn in. Is it Monthey or Manthy
Monthey: Monthey
Vanderslice: M-O-N-T-H-E-Y
Monthey: Mhm
Vanderslice: Thank you. Ms Monthey are you Mr Melton's
girlfriend
Monthey: I am
Vanderslice: How long have you been going out with him
Monthey: Um about a year and a half
Vanderslice: Do you guys live together?
Monthey: We do not. I live with my parents.
Vanderslice: You live in Holdrege
Monthey: I do
Vanderslice: I don't mean any disrespect by this but can you
tell us how old you are
Monthey: 23
Vanderslice: Thank you. You've been with Mr Melton for a year
and a half so you know pretty much all about him don't you
Monthey: Yes
Vanderslice: Okay does he drink
Monthey: He does not
Vanderslice: Does he do illegal drugs
Monthey: No
Vanderslice: Do you
Monthey: No
Vanderslice: You know that Mr Melton has several properties in
Holdrege correct
Monthey: Correct
Vanderslice: And can you tell us what you know about these
properties for example related to the projects that he's doing on
these properties. Let's start with yours
Monthey: Okay he's currently remodeling a space for me, a dance
studio. He's also going to after that's complete we are in the middle
of that, he is going to be working on another project for another
tenant preparing a massage studio and then he also has another
project for his sister that he needs to completely remodel two spaces
completely. He has just got done moving a tenant and remodeling that
space. He's been very busy. And he's still very busy.
Vanderslice: So he's doing a dance studio for you. Are you a
dancer
Monthey: Yes I was
Vanderslice: Okay and so you want to have a dance studio where.
I have two daughters that started out at about 4 years old all the
way up through high school. You want to give lessons. Ballet or jazz
or tap. That kind of thing.
Monthey: Yes correct yes
Vanderslice: Okay and did you have a timeframe related to when
you were hoping this remodeling would be done
Monthey: I was hoping it would be done this week. I took the
week off of work all week last week we worked on it and we were
pushing to get it done this week. Of course plans changed.
Vanderslice: What else needs to be done
Monthey: There are quite a few things that need to be done um.
We have lighting, floors, ballet bars, mirrors, a lot of things.
Vanderslice: That type of stuff so obviously, Well let me ask
you does Mr Melton do all of the work
Monthey: He does
Vanderslice: Does he have anybody helping him
Monthey: No one just me and I'm no help
Vanderslice: Okay alright um so if he stays locked up your
plans are pretty much done at least if he stays locked up
Monthey: Yes
Vanderslice: Okay do you have clients that are lined up for
dance lessons already
Monthey: I do not but I have someone that's going to be using
the space as well and they have clients who are lined up and waiting
for this space
Vanderslice: Very good. Now talk to me about the massage parlor
is that in a different building
Monthey: It is in a different building
Vanderslice: And is that for your sister
Monthey: It is for my sister
Vanderslice: Grace
Monthey: Yes
Vanderslice: Okay and what needs to be done on that
Monthey: Everything it is an empty room
Vanderslice: Okay and is that a remodel that Mr Melton would be
doing by himself also
Monthey: Yes
Vanderslice: Okay and then he's going to rent it out to Grace
Monthey: Yes
Vanderslice: With the art studio that's for his sister Amanda
Monthey: It is
Vanderslice: Alright and what needs to be done on that if you
know
Monthey: Everything
Vanderslice: Okay
Monthey: Just an empty space right now
Vanderslice: And so through these rentals is that how to your
knowledge is that how Mr Melton is going to make income
Monthey: Yes
Vanderslice: Is Leadfoot still an ongoing business to your
knowledge
Monthey: He has not.. As I know.. He has pretty much.. Since
the ATF has done their inspections, he has pretty much been stand
offish when it comes to Leadfoot. He is not wanting to do anything
really related to it um it really put a damper on things
Vanderslice: You mean him being arrested
Monthey: No back in November when they came and did their
inspection. Since then he has um really just wanted to not deal with
it anymore
Vanderslice: To get out of that business
Monthey: Yes
Vanderslice: Okay now Agent Shelton just testified about an
inspection in August you're talking about an inspection in November.
Did you misspeak
Monthey: Uhh
Vanderslice: What Agent Shelton testified about was an
inspection on August 24th of 2017 and you just stated since November
with an inspection. Let me ask it a different way because you look
confused. Was there more than one inspection to your knowledge
Monthey: No there was only one inspection. I'm sorry I guess I
don't remember exact. It was in that timeframe I guess I don't
exactly remember the month exactly.
Vanderslice: Okay well do you remember the date on August 24th
when you had contact with the ATF
Monthey: Yes I remember that contact
Vanderslice: Were you frightened by them
Monthey: Yes they came into my workplace
Vanderslice: Okay were they mean
Monthey: They were not mean no
Vanderslice: Okay were they firm
Monthey: Yes
Vanderslice: Okay alright and you told them that you thought
that Mr Melton was in Colorado right
Monthey: Yes
Vanderslice: That's because Mr Melton told you that he was in
Colorado
Monthey: Correct
Vanderslice: So at least when you told them that that was
because apparently your boyfriend wasn't truthful with you is that
fair
Monthey: Yeah
Vanderslice: Okay kind of puts you into an awkward spot didn't
it
Monthey: And I had not seen him that day because I do not live
with him. I go straight from my house to work. Had not seen him all
day.
Vanderslice: Has he been dishonest with you before
Monthey: No
Vanderslice: No okay. And he put you into an awkward spot
because now you've got federal agents threatening you with
obstruction did that scare you
Monthey: Yes
Vanderslice: Okay and then you got a hold of your boyfriend and
then he promptly or fairly promptly got a hold of ATF right
Monthey: I'm guessing yes
Vanderslice: Okay did you know when you got a hold of him that
he wasn't in Colorado when you called him back
Monthey: Uhh no
Vanderslice: Did he tell you
Monthey: I never I was you know I was at work I couldn't call
him it was all through text messages I can't even remember if he was
talking to me or replying or anything
Vanderslice: Fair enough
Monthey: I know I after that I was like I don't know what's
going on.
Vanderslice: Okay now Mr Melton is running for mayor of
Holdrege isn't he
Monthey: *chuckles* He is
Vanderslice: Tell me about that a little bit
Monthey: He is running for mayor. He has seen a lot of
corruption in our city and he has exposed a lot of that corruption
and there have been numerous people who are attacking him um since he
got arrested Facebook has been blowing up with horrible horrible
things from people. Um it is it's scary.
Vanderslice: Well let me ask you. Horrible things from the
standpoint of based upon your knowledge that they're untrue?
Monthey: Yes. Absolutely.
Vanderslice: Can you give us an example.
Monthey: Um well they I mean they're taking these allegations
and just blowing them up and making their own theories and stories
and saying that he's a danger and a harm to this and harmful and
going to hurt people and it's not true
Vanderslice: Have you had any concerns in your relationship
with Mr Melton about him being violent
Monthey: Never
Vanderslice: To you
Monthey: No never
Vanderslice: Okay. Now you're familiar with the situation with
a Randy Aldrich aren't you?
Monthey: Yes
Vanderslice: Randy Aldrich is the one that applied for a
harassment protection order correct
Monthey: Mhm
Vanderslice: Did you attend that hearing
Monthey: I did
Vanderslice: Can you tell us.. Well did Mr Melton present his
own information to the judge
Monthey: He did yes
Vanderslice: Okay and did he refute many of the allegations
that Mr Aldrich brought
Monthey: Yes. He had witnesses and video evidence and Mr
Aldrich had neither
Vanderslice: Mr Aldrich had a lawyer though didn't he
Monthey: Yes
Vanderslice: He lawyered up
Monthey: Yep
Vanderslice: Two lawyers?
Monthey: Yes
Vanderslice: Yes okay and um but the judge still issued the
harassment protection order
Monthey: Yes
Vanderslice: Now you told me before you testified today that Mr
Aldrich and Mr Melton have seen each other in town and tell me what
happened then
Monthey: Yes shortly after that I think maybe it was a couple
days after um on one of Joe's properties his tenant needed internet
and so he that tenant hired people to come run lines for the internet
and Mr Aldrich.. We were not around at this time.. Mr Aldrich was
causing problems with those men and so those men of course contacted
us and said your neighbor is you know not liking us on his property
and so we went down there. They did not speak to each other, they did
not have any conflict they didn't look at each other. Things were
just fine
Vanderslice: I'm going to back you up when you say we went down
there be more specific. Was it Mr Melton
Monthey: Mr Melton and I
Vanderslice: And you
Monthey: We were both there
Vanderslice: And you went down and did you talk with Mr Aldrich
Monthey: No neither of us did
Vanderslice: Okay so what happened then
Monthey: Well he he communicated with the workers
Vanderslice: When you say he
Monthey: Mr Aldrich I'm Sorry
Vanderslice: Thank you
Monthey: Excuse me. Um Mr Aldrich was communicating with the
workers and then Joe and I communicated with the workers and they
were kind of the middle man. And we got things resolved and he was
decent and everything was fine
Vanderslice: When you say he who are you referring to
Monthey: Mr Aldrich was decent
Vanderslice: Was Mr Melton decent
Monthey: He sure was
Vanderslice: Okay now was there an easement on Mr. Aldrich's
property that allowed people to lay cable on it do you know
Monthey: Um I believe so
Vanderslice: Okay alright and so that got worked out without
any kind of violence or dispute
Monthey: Yes yes
Vanderslice: This protection order apparently was issued oh
maybe you can tell me.. Just recently wasn't it
Monthey: Yes in April
Vanderslice: Well it was filed on June 29th it says on the top
of the document buts that's just.. No that's the order so it was..
Alright no excuse me it was issued on 4-11-18. It looks like it was
filed on June 29th okay so this was just two weeks ago. So was this
meeting between Mr Aldrich and Mr Melton within the past two weeks
Monthey: Yes
Vanderslice: Okay very good. Do you know if they've had other
meetings
Monthey: No
Vanderslice: Okay no they haven't or no you don't know
Monthey: No they do not they have not had any other meetings
Vanderslice: To your knowledge
Monthey: Yes
Vanderslice: Alright do you know if Mr Aldrich is a council
member for the city of Holdrege
Monthey: He is
Vanderslice: He is and Mr Melton is running for mayor
Monthey: Yes
Vanderslice: So do you know if Mr Melton is asking people to
call Mr Molsen to complain
Monthey: Yes. It was on Facebook to contact Mr Molsen.
Vanderslice: Oh it was
Monthey: Yes it was
Vanderslice: When was that
Monthey: It was this morning. Someone sent me a photo of it and
they blasted it on Facebook to call with any information about him
being like of danger to the town or
Vanderslice: Was Mr Molsen's phone number on Facebook also
Monthey: Yes
Vanderslice: Okay nothing else judge
Judge: Cross examination
Molsen: Yes your honor. Let's direct your attention first to
the day that ATF contacted you at the bank. You explained during
direct examination that you had contact with Mr Melton
Monthey: Yes he had called me earlier that day
Molsen: And he told you where to say that he was
Monthey: No he he's the exact phone call went he called me and
said ATF I believe ATF is there to do an inspection I'm in Colorado
and I said ok and hung up the phone
Molsen: Is it your opinion that that statement by him was a lie
Monthey: Yes
Molsen: It wasn't true was it
Vanderslice: It's already asked and answered Judge
Judge: Overruled
Monthey: Sorry what was the question
Molsen: What he told you wasn't true was it
Monthey: Uhh no
Molsen: So that morning you spoke with Special Agent Cory
Shelton is that correct
Monthey: Correct
Molsen: And was he asking questions about where Mr Melton could
be located
Monthey: Yes
Molsen: Did he ask you questions when you had last had contact
with Mr Melton
Monthey: Yes
Molsen: And did you tell Special Agent Cory Shelton the truth
at that time
Monthey: I cannot remember
Molsen: You think you may have lied to the agent
Monthey: No I just can't remember what exactly I said I can't
remember if I said I knew where he was or where he was I can't
remember
Molsen: Do you believe you were truthful with him
Monthey: Yes
Molsen: Okay. So what you told Mr Cory Shelton that morning was
the truth is that correct
Monthey: Yes
Molsen: Did you tell Mr Cory Shelton whether or not you had
contact with him that day
Monthey: I think I told him that I had contact with Joe. That
he had called me.
Molsen: Okay and did you tell him when you had last had contact
like how recently before he was there
Monthey: Yes
Molsen: Did you withhold any information did you tell him the
truth
Monthey: I told him everything I knew
Molsen: Okay and did you have phone contact with Mr Melton
shortly before Mr Cory Shelton had arrived
Monthey: Yes I sent.. Oh.. No
Molsen: No text communications
Monthey: Umm I had possibly messaged I had possibly messaged
Joe through text messaging
Molsen: Okay but somehow you found out he was in Colorado
Monthey: Yes he had called he called me at work
Molsen: Okay so you had phone contact. Did he call your cell
phone or did he call your work line
Monthey: Work line
Molsen: Okay to your best memory did you have cell phone
contact with him that morning
Monthey: I believe so through text messaging. I believe I sent
him messages
Molsen: Okay and were you honest with Special Agent Cory
Shelton when he asked how frequently have you had contact with him
that morning
Monthey: Yes
Molsen: What was your phone number at that time
Monthey: My cell phone number
Molsen: Yes
Monthey: REDACTED
Molsen: And who was your service provider at that time
Monthey: Verizon
Molsen: And what was Mr Meltons phone number at that time
Monthey: I don't know *laughs*
Molsen: Okay. Did you testify at the hearing where the
protection order was issued
Monthey: I did
Molsen: At the end of the hearing after hearing all of the
evidence the judge issued that protective order is that correct
Monthey: Correct
Molsen: Alright thank you. I have no further questions at this
time.
Judge: Redirect
Vanderslice: No judge
Judge: You may step down
Vanderslice: Oh wait if I may
Judge: Sure. You may not step down
Vanderslice: Just briefly Ms Monthey have you had do you have
any past criminal history
Monthey: No
Vanderslice: At all
Monthey: None not even a speeding ticket
Vanderslice: Thank you. Nothing Else
Judge: Alright now you may step down.
Vanderslice: No other evidence
Judge: Okay so we would be waiting solely on
Molsen: I'll have the CD all voicemails I've received up to
this point and I would ask if we could issue a protective order
saying basically I'll offer you a copy, I'll give a copy to Mr
Vanderslice as well but I'd ask that
Judge: Let me interject at this point in time. I have a
pretrial services report in front of me that indicates that there's
several protection orders out there. Third degree assaults.
Terroristic threats. And based upon the evidence that is in and under
circumstances where I'm concerned irrespective of whether I see or
hear anything about whats on an audio file.
Molsen: Okay
Judge: And then I have a copy of a harassment protective order
here and I'm questioning whether we need to go down the path or
whether at some point in time it's just piling on.
Molsen: Okay I would just offer argument then
Judge: Okay let's go with argument
Molsen: I think you're pretty well aware of all the facts. The
one thing that I would highlight here is that there is been multiple
instances where Mr Melton has not been honest. The pretrial service
report highlights some where he didn't disclose all of his businesses
and later added to that. Didn't disclose all of his vehicles and
later added to that. Gave conflicting information about his income.
He was also not straightforward and was dishonest with ATF in order
to avoid an inspection. That might by basically as analogous to what
pretrial might do. They might want to show up and do an inspection
themselves of his residence where he is and he might try to pull a
similar stunt then and try to say "Oh I'm not home I'm someplace
else." And then he was not truthful when they asked "Are you
manufacturing all the parts here" and he says "yes I am." Come to
find out later that wasn't true and the motivation there there to lie
basically is that someone who's not licensed is not supposed to be
manufacturing those things and he was dishonest at least initially
about that. So when there's that many instances of dishonesty and
then even according to his own witness' testimony he was dishonest
that morning lying to his girlfriend about where he was. With that
many indications of dishonesty, I don't think that he could be
trusted to be released. I think he would pose a danger to the
community as well as a risk of flight and that it makes it really
hard to be supervised when he's not willing to be honest with those
he needs to be honest with.
Judge: Alright. Mr. Vanderslice
Vanderslice: Well judge Mr Melton is from Holdrege. He's pretty
much lived there his whole life. It sounds to me like he's able to
comply with the protection order because he's had I guess what I'd
call tangential contact with Mr Aldrich and there was no incident at
all. Mr Melton is running for mayor and Mr Aldrich obviously is
heavily involved with the politics of Holdrege, Nebraska. And so I
think to a certain degree it looks to me like there's some political
strife going on here. And maybe just some neighbor strife that now
has been taken care of through the protection order. The other
protection orders I don't have any information about. But you brought
up the terroristic threats, that was dismissed. And that's when he
was 20 years old. How old are you now?
Melton: 30
Vanderslice: He's 30 now. The other stuff related to well the
third degree assault in 07 when he was 18 years old. Disturbing the
peace with judgement set aside. So it would seem to me.. And then the
protection order again when he was 20 years old. So and I don't know
what that's about. But nonetheless it looks like at least ten years
has gone by that he's any issues with protection orders but for Mr
Aldrich. And I think it appears that Mr Aldrich has his own axe to
grind but that now with the state judge stepping in, that's been
remedied through the protection order that could have been violated
by Mr Melton but was not. Mr Melton is in a situation right now
whereby if he stays locked up, he's going to in essence go bankrupt.
He's got these three properties that he's in the process of changing
into a dance studio, a massage parlor, and an art studio and he's the
only one basically that's doing the work. He's no longer out of the
or he's no longer in the firearms business and if he does have any
firearms I believe I forgot to ask Ms Monthey about this but I've
been told by Ms Monthey that and by Mr Melton that his sister
Kristina Melton can take control of any firearms that may still be at
Leadfoot. And she is apparently in the military and would be
agreeable to taking care of those things. So I think under all of
these circumstances judge keeping Mr Melton locked up is going to put
him into financial ruin and I don't think that he's a danger to the
community. I don't think he's a flight risk. If he was leary about
meeting with ATF it could have been related to some of the technical
specifications that he was concerned about regarding his business. It
sounds like the silencer business is very technical with many rules
and regulations that even the ATF agent who just testified doesn't
know about. So if we're talking about technical violations of ATF
rules, obviously that's the charge that Mr Molsen has brought against
Mr Melton. Melson Melton Shelton I'll try to keep it straight. This
may be a situation where there were good faith mistakes made by Mr
Melton related to technical regulations that are on firearms dealers.
He's a firearm dealer. He can have that kind of stuff. Did he comply
with the rules? I don't know yet, that's for the jury to decide. But
nonetheless as far as the decision today, I think that there is
evidence that Mr Melton can follow the rules of the court. I've told
him what you're like as a zero tolerance judge and he tells me that
he will do everything to the letter to comply with any release
conditions and I get the sense that he is extremely serious about
that. I know that he's got a lot of anxiety about these charges
because I could sense that when I was talking with him in the
Marshal's lockup. He's extremely concerned about losing his
businesses and losing his livelihood. So based upon all of those
factors judge we think that he is releasable. He would be agreeable
to electronic monitoring if you think that's appropriate. A curfew.
Whatever you think as far as conditions are concerned and to the
extent that there's some feuding going on in Holdrege, NE I think
that what Ms Monthey testified about related to this Facebook post
today "Call the prosecutor" and obviously as a result of that we get
a barrage of bad news phone calls to Mr Molsen.
Judge: That's another reason I don't necessarily care on the
phone calls. I'm not saying that the people that are calling are
being truthful or not truthful, it's just that absent having them sit
up on the witness stand and they don't want to, how am I supposed to
know?
Molsen: If I may respond to that your Honor.
Judge: Yeah
Molsen: Some of them I think would be willing to. Some of them
have said they're too scared. Some of them I think his
characterization of it is much different than what I'm hearing on
these voicemails. If there is an issue, I would like the chance to
have them, if it's going to make a difference basically.
Vanderslice: Mr Molsen also sent me two voicemails from Mr
Melton's sister saying that Mr Melton is the most docile harmless
person in the world. And you can take that for what that's worth from
his sister. But there's obviously a split of view in the city of
Holdrege and it sounds to me like there's a lot of politics that are
going along with that with him running for mayor and Mr Aldrich being
a city council member. It sounds like a John Camp vs. Chris Bitler
situation. I think that he's releasable. I don't think that he's a
danger to the community. He's not a flight risk hes lived in Holdrege
pretty much his whole life. I'm asking you to let him go judge.
Judge: Alright. Pretrial didn't find any risks of
nonappearance, I don't find any risks of nonappearance and that is
what electronic monitoring actually does. So EM is not going to help
us in this circumstance. The question really comes down to the
criminal history, the protection orders, some violent tendencies
sitting out there that go back. I mean there's two ways of looking at
it. One way of looking at it is you were young. And therefore that's
why it arose. The other way of looking at it is that your youth is
not.. You haven't grown out of it because we've now got something in
2018. And more importantly, I'm not being candid with pretrial
services stern questioning makes you a real risk as far as any
supervision. Because if you cannot be supervised you cannot be
released. And you cannot be supervised if you're not honest. And
based upon the testimony I've heard today from your girlfriend, from
the officer, and in the pretrial services report that is your go to.
And under those circumstances, you need to remain detained. Anything
else we need to take up?
Molsen: No your honor
Vanderslice: No judge
Judge: We are in recess

END COURT

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