A Las Vegas-area teen was shot to death by his father Thursday morning, and detectives say the boy’s sexual orientation was a motive. Giovanni Melton, 14, was killed by his father, Wendell, at the Horizons at Seven Hills apartments in Henderson, where the teen resided.
“I’m sure that inside of his mind, he would rather have a dead son than a gay son,” said Giovanni’s foster mother, Sonja Jones, of the suspect’s alleged actions.
Witnesses say the father had brandished a gun in past months, when he saw his son with a boyfriend, but they didn’t get involved, according to police. The elder Melton, 53, who is a former United Airlines pilot, and faces open murder and charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm, “abused his son physically and mentally and spiritually for many, many years,” Jones recalled.
Giovanni’s classmates at Coronado High School said he was cheerful and outgoing, and openly gay. “He brought smiles to everyone’s faces,” one unidentified student noted. A senior at the school, Bailey Schultz, said, “It’s just sad. He was young and he had a lot to live for.”
Police say a heated argument broke out between father and son on the day of the shooting. The altercation was heard by many neighbors, followed by “several gunshots”, the last of numerous times Giovanni was treated violently by his father. “I hope they throw the book at him. I hope he never sees the light of day,” Jones raged. “I hope every day when he looks in the mirror, he sees his son’s face.”
Funeral arrangements were pending, following an autopsy. Melton was held without bail by a Clark County judge, who acknowledged the “extreme nature of this crime.”