2008-08-08 / Top Stories

NYT Points To 'Real Killer' Of James Abbott

By Howard Schwach

James Abbott lies near Beach 90 Street after he was stabbed to death in 1991. Kareem Bellamy was convicted of his murder, but a judge threw out that conviction in July. James Abbott lies near Beach 90 Street after he was stabbed to death in 1991. Kareem Bellamy was convicted of his murder, but a judge threw out that conviction in July. Columnist James Dwyer, writing in Wednesday's New York Times, has outed a Rockaway man who, he says, allegedly admitted to the murder of James Abbott in 1991, a murder that led to the trial and conviction of Kareem Bellamy.

As The Wave reported in its July 6 issue this year, Bellamy's conviction was overturned by a Queens Supreme Court judge due to new taped evidence, but the paper withheld the name of the man that lawyers and private investigators believe really committed the murder because he had not yet been charged with the crime.

Dwyer, however, writes that the tape exposes the murderer as Leon Melvin, a Rockaway man who was angered because his girlfriend had become too cozy with Abbott. That information came, records show, from an informant who came forward to a private investigator who he had known when the investigator was an NYPD detective. The informant later provided the investigator with the tape, in which Melvin confides that he and another man stabbed and killed a third party on Beach 40 Street in Far Rockaway.

Kareem Bellamy as he appeared at his trial in 1991. Kareem Bellamy as he appeared at his trial in 1991. Dwyer wrote, "After the [informant] surfaced this year, the private investigators wired [him] with a hidden tape recorder. On February 2, the informant met with his jealous friend and they spoke about a stabbing that took place somewhere near 40 Street in Far Rockaway. A partial transcript of the conversation was included in [the judge's ruling].

'You mean you told him to leave her alone, and he wouldn't leave her alone,' the informant says.

'Yeah, he wouldn't listen to me, so I had to do what I had to do,' Melvin said.

'So, you stabbed him?' the informant asks.

'Yeah,' Melvin answers.

'How many times you stabbed him?' the informant asks.

'Stabbed him about seven times, or something like that,' Melvin said."

Dwyer continues in his column that no charges have been brought against Melvin because the district attorney's office argued that it was not clear on the tape that they were speaking about the Abbott murder.

The judge, however, dismissed that idea because, he said, the records showed that there had not been another stabbing murder in that area all year.

Bellamy is due back in court late this week for a hearing on whether or not he should be granted bail while he is waiting for the district attorney to decide on taking Bellamy to trial once again.

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