Plea deal keeps Melton in mayor's job

Mayor Frank Melton, who has taken a hard stand against the city's rising crime rate, struck a deal with prosecutors Wednesday to enter pleas to three weapons charges, avoiding possible jail time on a felony and removal from office.

Melton pleaded no contest to a reduced charge on the felony count and guilty to two misdemeanors and was given a six-month suspended sentence on each count, one year probation and fined a total of $1,500.

Melton told reporters outside the courthouse that the plea deal was "in the best interest of the city."

"I've always said the rules are the same for everybody. The court did the right thing," he said. "We're going to continue to move this city forward, it's all about economic development now."

The first-term mayor was accused of carrying a gun onto the campus of the Mississippi College School of Law on Feb. 28, a felony. He and prosecutors agreed to reduce that charge to a misdemeanor of carrying a concealed weapon.