The mayor of Jackson, Miss., died early today, less than 2 days after losing a re-election bid in a contentious Democratic primary that came a week before his second federal trial, the AP reports. Frank Melton, 60, who had a history of heart problems, was to be tried on civil-rights charges over a sledgehammer attack on what he considered to be a crackhouse.
Prosecutors say he was drunk on scotch and power when he ordered a group of young men to destroy the duplex in a poor neighborhood. Melton was known for his unorthodox style, rising to fame with a regular opinion piece on a local TV station he owned in which he called out criminals and slammed public officials. He often lectured youths in poor neighborhoods on responsibility, “unofficially adopting” many, the Clarion-Ledger notes.