Soldier, 16-year-old boy charged in death of Fort Drum corporal

Prosecutors are charging a 23-year-old soldier and an unidentified 16-year-old boy in the death of Hayden Harris, who was found shot to death in December. Photo courtesy of U.S. Army Fort Drum

Jan. 3 (UPI) — An Army soldier and an unidentified 16-year-old boy have been charged with murder in connection with an Army corporal who was found dead in New Jersey last month.

According to the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office, Jamaal Mellish, 23, and the teenager were charged this week with felony murder, kidnapping and second-degree weapons — and Mellish was charged with third-degree suppression of evidence.

Hayden Harris, 20, was found shot to death Dec. 19 after being reported missing earlier that week.

Firefighters found Harris’ body during an annual Santa ride, when they observed blood and debris along the roadway.

According to investigators, Mellish was supposed to meet Harris, whom he had interacted with previously, to exchange a Ford Mustang for a Chevy pickup truck.

Mellish is in military custody in New York awaiting extradition to New Jersey, and the 16-year-old is being held at a juvenile detention center.

Authorities have not released information about the younger suspect’s alleged involvement in the slaying.

Harris, a Tennessee native stationed at New York’s Fort Drum, joined the Army in March 2019 and earned the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon.

He was posthumously promoted to corporal and awarded the Army Commendation Medal.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here