BENTONVILLE (KFSM)-The Bentonville Police Department released court documents Wednesday (Dec. 10) showing text messages Joshua Melton sent to an ex-girlfriend prior to his arrest Tuesday (Dec. 9) on school property on suspicion of carrying a weapon and harassment of a junior high school assistant principal.
The former Razorback football player, who was acquitted of second-degree murder Dec. 4, was arrested just before 1 p.m. in the parking lot of Lincoln Jr. High School following a call to police from his ex-girlfriend, the arrest documents state. The woman told police she and Melton had been in a long-term relationship in the past, but had since split up, according to the affidavit.
Melton's ex-girlfriend told officers he had been making threatening statements against an employee at the school, who has been identified as Tacuma Williams, the affidavit states. According to the Lincoln Jr. High School staff directory, Williams is an assistant principal.
The woman said Melton had sent her a picture via text of the back of Williams' car while it was parked in the school parking lot, as well as a text stating "oh and I have my knife with me," the documents state. Melton suspected Williams and his ex-girlfriend were in an intimate relationship, which the woman denied, according to the affidavit.
Police said they notified the school about the possible confrontation and sent an officer to the scene. According to court documents, Melton's ex-girlfriend also notified Williams via text about the threats.
A Lincoln Jr. High School resource officer made contact with Melton as he was walking toward the school, according to the affidavit. Melton told officers that he was there to ask Williams "a couple of question," the documents state.
"It wasn't that a person was coming up to do harm to children," Bentonville School District Superintendent Mike Poore said. "[He] had a problem or wanted to talk to one of our employees, but there's kind of concerns behind that."
Melton allowed officers to search his vehicle for his hunting knife, which police found under the front driver's seat, the affidavit stated.
Investigators contacted Melton's ex-girlfriend, who told them she was scared of Melton and he had been abusive with her in the past, according to the documents. She also told officers Melton told her via text that he was going to see some of her boyfriends before he left town, the affidavit states. He also said, "you have made me crazy for the last time" and told her that he "will show her evil" if she wanted him to, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit states that because Melton was on the premises for no legitimate reason and caused alarmed, officers arrested Melton on suspicion of loitering. Police said they also had probable cause to add charges of harassment and carrying a weapon against Melton because he placed Williams under surveillance outside of the school for no other purpose than to harass, alarm or annoy him and Melton was armed with a knife, which he portrayed as a weapon.
To see the arrest affidavit in its entirety, click here.
Superintendent Poore said the safety of the students and employees is the district's top priority.
"[Williams] has not done anything wrong," Poore said. "He is the victim in this situation and of course we want to protect that individual as well as protecting our school and our children."
Poore said the district sent an email to parents, notifying them of the situation. Parent Lori Buchanan said she appreciated the school's quick response.
"The school faced with a sad moment knew exactly what to do," she said. "And they responded promptly and quickly and rightly. I'm very grateful that he was prevented from hurting anybody, for his sake and everyone's sake."
The charges Melton is facing are all misdemeanors. He is at the Benton County Detention Center awaiting a bond hearing. According to the affidavit, the Bentonville city attorney is asking that his bond be set at $10,000.
On Dec. 4, a Washington County jury found Melton not guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Michael Gover.