As Ardmore model’s murder case grinds on, alleged robber finally caught
Jonathan Harris and Andre Melton are both tied to Christina Carlin-Kraft.
Two men tied to a slain Ardmore model appeared before judges in Montgomery County this week.
One had been on the run from police for four months. The other had stayed put, locked in a jail cell, for nearly as long.
Jonathan Wesley Harris, 31, was formally arraigned Friday in Norristown on murder, robbery, and related charges in the death of Christina Carlin-Kraft, who police say was murdered inside her apartment this summer.
Two days earlier, Andre Melton, 31, was arrested in his native Southwest Philadelphia on minor drug charges. That run-in with city police ended the manhunt for Melton, a suspect in an unrelated robbery of Carlin-Kraft’s apartment the same week that Harris is accused of killing her.
Harris, from Western Pennsylvania, told investigators in August that he met Carlin-Kraft in Center City and accompanied her home to sell, and use, an ounce of cocaine. After the two had what he described as consensual sex, they fell into an argument, and he beat and choked her to death, he later confessed to police.
Little was said at Harris' arraignment Friday, attended by Carlin-Kraft’s family and Alex Ciccotelli, her fiance. Assistant District Attorney Brianna Ringwood, who is handling the case, said afterward that prosecutors will not seek the death penalty.
A trial in the slaying of the 36-year-old model is tentatively scheduled for May. Harris remains in custody at the county jail, denied bail due to the nature of the charges.
Meanwhile, Melton was arraigned late Thursday after investigators brought him to the Lower Merion Police Department. He was charged with burglary, criminal trespass, and receiving stolen property, according to the warrant for his arrest issued Aug. 21.
He remained in custody on $25,000 bail, and he faces a preliminary hearing in the case Dec. 21.
Melton’s attorney, Lawrence J. Bozzelli, declined to comment at length Friday, saying only that his client “has not been charged in the homicide and has no connection to that crime.”
Carlin-Kraft reported a burglary at her apartment inside the Cambridge Square building on Aug. 18. She told investigators that she had taken a Lyft car to the Sofitel hotel in Center City the night before and ordered an espresso martini at the hotel’s bar. After that, she said, she remembered nothing.
She told police that she woke up the next morning in her apartment “extremely sick” with “no recollection of what occurred” and wearing the same clothes as the night before, according to the warrant.
Then she noticed several things missing, including credit cards, jewelry, and designer purses. She told police that she “did not give anyone permission to enter her residence or permission to take her property.”
Surveillance footage from her apartment building shows Carlin-Kraft returning to her apartment early on Aug. 18 with a man police believe was Melton, according to the warrant. She seemed unsteady on her feet, and he supported her as she walked.
It was unclear how Melton and Carlin-Kraft had met, but investigators believe that he had given her a ride home from the city.
As the two walked into her building, Carlin-Kraft fell, and Melton picked her up from behind and helped her to an elevator. Surveillance footage shows him later coming back down on the elevator, carrying a box that police believe contained Carlin-Kraft’s belongings.
Police later tracked some of Carlin-Kraft’s stolen credit cards to convenience stores in Delaware County. Surveillance footage from those stores captured Melton and another man using the cards.
When investigators went to serve a warrant at Melton’s home in Southwest Philadelphia on Aug. 22, he wasn’t there. That same day, Ciccotelli discovered Carlin-Kraft’s body.
For months, Melton continued to elude law enforcement amid reports that he was in the area, including a brief sighting by police in Upper Darby.
Finally, a car he was riding in was pulled over late Wednesday on Paschall Avenue near 67th Street, in the Elmwood section of Southwest Philadelphia, according to a spokesman for Philadelphia police. Melton was arrested for marijuana possession, court records show.
When the officers ran his name, they saw the four-month-old warrant for his arrest in Montgomery County and took him into custody.