Melvin Bonnell was sentenced to death by the State of Ohio for a robbery murder. According to court documents Melvin Bonnell would force his way into the victims home where he would fatally shoot the victim. Melvin Bonnell would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death.
Melvin Bonnell 2021 Information
Gender Male Race White
Admission Date 06/29/1988
Institution Chillicothe Correctional Institution
Melvin Bonnell More News
Shirley Hatch, Edward Birmingham and Robert Eugene Bunner shared an apartment on Bridge Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio. On November 28, 1987, at approximately 3:00 a.m., Hatch heard someone knock at the kitchen door of the apartment. Hatch asked who was at the door and a voice replied, “Charles.” Bunner opened the door and appellant, Melvin Bonnell, entered the apartment and closed the door behind him. Appellant uttered an expletive directed at Bunner and then proceeded to fire two gunshots at Bunner at close range. Bunner fell to the floor and Hatch, who had witnessed the shooting, ran to a bedroom where Birmingham was sleeping. Hatch heard two more gunshots, awoke Birmingham to tell him that Bunner had been shot, and then fled from the apartment to call paramedics. Birmingham went to the kitchen.
Upon entering the kitchen, Birmingham observed appellant who was on top of Bunner “* * * pounding him in the face.” Birmingham also observed bullet holes in Bunner’s body. Birmingham grabbed appellant and ejected him from the apartment.
At approximately 3:40 a.m., two Cleveland police officers were patrolling Bridge Avenue in a police cruiser when they observed a blue vehicle being driven backwards on Bridge Avenue with its headlights off. The officers attempted to stop the vehicle, and a high-speed chase ensued when the driver of the vehicle failed to stop. During the chase, the officers never lost sight of the vehicle except, perhaps, for a few seconds. The officers never saw anyone in the vehicle except the driver. No one exited the vehicle during the chase. The chase ended when the driver of the blue vehicle crashed into the side of a funeral chapel. The officers removed the driver from the vehicle and placed him on the ground. Both officers identified appellant as the driver of the vehicle.
Shortly after the accident, Cleveland police Officers Stansic and Kukula arrived at the crash site and saw a man lying on the ground with police officers standing over him. However, Officers Stansic and Kukula left the accident scene almost immediately thereafter in response to a radio call regarding the shooting at the Bridge Avenue apartment.
Upon arriving at the apartment, officers Stansic and Kukula interviewed Hatch *704 and Birmingham who provided the officers with a description of Bunner’s assailant. The officers recognized the witnesses’ description as meeting the description of the man they had observed at the accident scene. The officers asked Birmingham to accompany them to the hospital where the man had been transported following the accident. At the hospital, Birmingham identified appellant as Bunner’s assailant.
Bunner died as a result of a gunshot wound to the chest. An autopsy revealed that Bunner was shot twice, once in the chest and once in the pubic region. Both bullets were recovered from the body.
Police officers retraced the chase scene and found a .25 caliber automatic pistol which was later identified as appellant’s. The weapon was test-fired and the test bullets were compared to the bullets found in Bunner’s body. The test bullets and the bullets retrieved from Bunner’s body had the same characteristics, and test casings matched spent bullet casings found at the murder scene.
Appellant was tried before a jury for the aggravated murder of Robert Bunner and for the commission of an aggravated burglary. The jury found appellant guilty on one count of aggravated burglary, one count of aggravated (felony) murder, and one count of aggravated murder … with prior calculation and design, causing Bunner’s death. In addition, appellant was found guilty of a death penalty specification in connection with each count of aggravated murder. For each count of aggravated murder, the trial judge, following the jury’s recommendation, imposed a sentence of death. The court of appeals affirmed the convictions and death penalty.