Law enforcement officials work at the scene along Wooding Road on Wednesday, March 22, 2023, east of Washougal, Wash. Authorities found two bodies believed to be those of a missing Vancouver woman and her 7-year-old daughter in a brushy area farther down Wooding Road. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian via AP)
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By Gene Johnson, AP

Kirkland Warren was out on bail pending a long-delayed murder trial in Arkansas. But when he was arrested in southwestern Washington state early this month on charges that he assaulted his ex-girlfriend and fired a gunshot into her apartment, he quickly posted bond and was released again.

Just a few days later, his ex-girlfriend, Meshay Melendez, 27, and her 7-year-old daughter, Layla Stewart, vanished. Police named Warren a person of interest in their disappearance.

The discovery of their bodies in thick brush down a road embankment on Wednesday has raised questions about why someone facing a murder charge in another state would be released from custody after being arrested for a serious domestic violence offense.

Cymber Tadlock, the deputy prosecutor who handled Warren’s case in a 2017 killing in Jefferson County, Arkansas, said the Vancouver Police Department in Washington notified her on March 2 that they had arrested Warren for drive-by shooting and other charges, stemming from an incident in December. They also told her the next day that Warren had a court appearance and his bail was set at $100,000.

It wasn’t until March 14, after she had received official paperwork from Clark County, Washington, that she filed a motion to revoke Warren’s bail in the 2017 murder case. In the meantime, he posted bail and was released from custody March 8 — four days before Melendez and her daughter vanished.

Had his Arkansas bail been revoked sooner, it’s possible Warren would have remained in custody as a fugitive pending his extradition to face trial in Arkansas. But Tadlock said the time it took to obtain an order revoking his bail was typical.

“I wish everything could happen more quickly,” Tadlock told The Associated Press. “I wish his murder case could have been resolved by now. It’s had delay after delay, and now it’s had a tragedy.”

Even before a man walking his dog reported seeing what resembled two “life-sized mannequins” in a rural area east of Washougal, Washington, on Wednesday morning, the family and friends of Melendez and Stewart had asserted the criminal justice system let them down.

Melendez’s brother, Miguel Melendez, and stepdad, Kendrick Taylor, along with Stewart’s grandfather, told The Columbian newspaper of Vancouver that they couldn’t believe Warren had been released on bail after shooting at her apartment, especially considering his pending murder trial in Arkansas.

But except in cases of aggravated murder, Washington law presumes someone will be released from custody until they are tried and convicted. Courts can impose conditions — such as bail or electronic monitoring — to help ensure public safety and to keep defendants from fleeing.

Complicating matters is that when Warren was released, he was not ordered to wear a GPS ankle bracelet — despite a recent state law that allows courts to order people accused of domestic violence to wear them. Under that law, the victim can use a mobile phone app to be alerted if their abuser is near. Police receive the notifications as well and can respond.

Vancouver Police Department spokesperson Kim Kapp said Friday that officers were concerned about Warren being released at all, considering the danger he posed. Kapp said the department may urge lawmakers to make the GPS bracelets mandatory for domestic violence defendants deemed high risk.

A small memorial overlooks Gibbons Creek as people honor the memory of Meshay “Karmen” Melendez, 27, and her daughter, Layla Stewart, 7 (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian via AP)

Warren was charged with killing an acquaintance in his vehicle in 2017 and leaving the body in a roadside ditch. He told police the passenger was asking him for money and he shot him because he feared for his safety.

His family got him released from custody pending trial by putting up 10% of his $250,000 bond, said his attorney in that case, Mark Hampton, and Warren subsequently moved to Washington state with the knowledge of his lawyer and prosecutors.

The case has been delayed pending psychological evaluations, discovery disputes, the pandemic and most recently by a fall that Hampton’s 91-year-old mother took, resulting in a broken hip.

Vancouver police previously investigated Warren in 2020 for possession of a stolen gun, and in 2021 for lying on a federal form required to purchase a firearm by saying he was not facing felony charges, according to court records.

Under Arkansas legal rules, judges must find reasonable cause that the defendant has committed a felony before revoking bail, according to Tadlock, who said “we had to have a finding by another court” because the allegations occurred in another jurisdiction.

Warren’s March 2 arrest stemmed from a December episode during which police said he assaulted Melendez and then fired a gunshot into her apartment. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges and hasn’t been charged thus far in the deaths of Melendez or Stewart.

Kirkland Warren (courtesy Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

At Warren’s initial court appearance on March 3, prosecutors noted he posed an extreme risk to Melendez, The Columbian reported. The court set bail at $100,000 and ordered him to have no contact with her, but prosecutors did not request GPS monitoring in the event of his release.

The Clark County Prosecutor’s Office did not respond to emailed questions about the case.

Warren was the last person seen with the mother and daughter before they disappeared, according to charging documents. On the night of March 11, a friend told police, she had been babysitting Stewart when Warren arrived to pick her up. Melendez was unresponsive in the car, naked from the waist down.

The friend reported Melendez missing on March 18. Melendez’s mother also reported her missing, saying the family had not heard from her for a week. The next day, police arrested Warren again. With his bail in Arkansas revoked, and his bail in Washington increased to $1 million, he has been in custody since.

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56 COMMENTS

      • It ain’t the Amish, or the Italians, or the Eskimos that are committing most of the crime in the latest crime wave. Also, it seems to me it it wasn’t these groups that have committed most of the crime for the past forty years.

        Even the Feds agree.

        • Well….even if some black folk are committing a disproportionate amount of crime, it is not because they are black, it is because they are who they are as individuals. In this case, an individual who should not have been on the street and should now endure the full weight of the law. Then, sue the folk who carelessly released him the first time.

        • He’s a criminal. Doesn’t much matter what his demographics, he shoots people with little to no reason. Unless someone suspects that both his girlfriend and the girlfriend’s daughter were attacking him, and he killed them in self defense.

          Criminal, probably gang member. That’s all we need to know.

        • johnny…My money says you held back until you saw the perp’s photo…After all the perp’s name is Kirkland Warren and that name sounds mighty white and ivy league ol’ chap.

          Fortunately for you your time machine went back only 40 years. Any further and you’d landed in the time of the kkk, third reich, fascist Italy, etc. During those years millions of women and children were imprisoned, tortured and murdered by people who look a lot like you, perhaps you should visit a Holocaust Museum.

          I suggest you take a different path otherwise by your rhetoric your attention in a store, etc. would be on a Black. Attention like that leaves you wide open for a White to make you their batch.

      • Debbie W:

        78% of all black makes aged 18-40 are (or were) in jail/prison or on probation/parole, that’s the Feds own statistics as of twelve (12) years ago (when Obammy ordered the FBLIE/DOPES to cease releasing info by race and Demmy controlled cities stopped reporting the same) and it’s worse now that they’re not being prosecuted. So go ahead, play the crime lottery, the 13%-ers are a “failed” race by all measurements including out-of-wedlock births, it’s over 80% for them and their illiteracy rate is astounding.

      • Debbie W.

        78% of all *lack males aged 18-40 are (or were) in jail/prison or on probation/parole, that’s the Feds own statistics as of twelve (12) years ago (when Obammy ordered the FBI/DOJ to cease releasing info by race and Demmy controlled cities stopped reporting the same) and it’s worse now that they’re not being prosecuted. So go ahead, play the crime lottery, the 13%-ers are a “failed” race by all measurements including out-of-wedlock births, it’s over 80% for them and their illiteracy rate is astounding.

  1. Until people go to jail for their first physical, violent act, we won’t get ahead of this.

    Innocent people don’t need to die when we know violence will beget more violence. The fast, easy, surefire way to stop it, is to incarcerate those that can’t control their temper. You’ve already shown you are a present and continuing danger to others at that point. No reason you shouldn’t be locked up until a speedy trial.

    This plan either forces people to learn to control their anger, or keeps them from hurting someone else.

    • “Go to jail”? What kind of mother allows him to act that way in her home, in front of her child? His ex should’ve whacked him when he shot up her home and saved the taxpayers the cost of his trial and incarceration (if any).

  2. Tjis is what passes for “justice” these days. A man under indictment pending rial on a murder case is allowed to move across the nation after someone posts chump change for a bond.
    He then LIES on his 4473 and tries to by a gun. Both he and Hunder Biden should have been locked up on tat basis alone. I know I would be.
    Then the Vancouver police arrest him for firing a gun into an occupied dwelling. and release him on bail AGAIN? In a time of isntant electronic communication WHY and HOW can this happen?

    Meanwhil here I am sitting at the counter of a gun store in Washingtin, Ive picked out and paid for my purchase. but because “SOME PEOPLE” can’t be trusted with guns right away, I have to leave my paid for personal property there for a few days. Never mind I already HAVE a much kore powerful weapon strapped ont my hip as I am hearing this. The “law” cosiders te FACT I am buying a gun puts me at risk of blowing my or someone elses brains out with my new poperty, despte the fact I’ve a far ore pwerful version of that same gun in my possession right now. I l also have a little pice of paper in my pocket that Mommie signed “giving me permission” to have a handgun concealed upon my person in this state.. yet they have to run a full check, examine my underwear drawer, have never thratened anyone since I wasa stupid teenager (and that with no more than my feeble fists, and never even drew blood as I was attacked)

    • “Meanwhil here I am sitting at the counter of a gun store in Washingtin, Ive picked out and paid for my purchase. but because “SOME PEOPLE” can’t be trusted with guns right away, I have to leave my paid for personal property there for a few days. Never mind I already HAVE a much kore powerful weapon strapped ont my hip as I am hearing this.”

      Move to Florida. If you have the permit, you walk out of the FFL with your new gun right then and there, with zero waiting… 🙂

  3. The biggest issue is the current judicial system has more concern for the rights and comfort of the accused than the rights of the victims. Anyone charged with a violent crime should be held until trial. Entirely too many times witnesses and victims or those close to them are further victimized by the alleged perpetrator/suspect.

    • This case is reminiscent of the reason while I quit working in court. People in court for their 40th burglary in 3 years being released OR (that is own recognizance, no bail necessary) People on probation for committing a felony once again in court for committing another felony both of which carry terms in prison for over ten years, back on probation with credit for time served while awaiting sentencing putting them back on the streets to commit more crimes. Then the juries finding the defendant was not armed at the time of the offense after he emptied all 7 rounds from a 1911 into his wife. Say what?
      Having only one sane juror holding out for guilty in a case involving a major, major drug dealer. Dealt in nothing less than 1 ounce quantities of heroin. The criminalist told me privately that his department had never tested heroin as pure as what the defendant sold. He said he had it tested 3 times just to make sure the tests were valid. It was a good sale. I have never seen a narco sale go down as cleanly as that sale. Cops followed the exact letter of the law to the nth degree. No troubles with the wire recording. 11 jurors didn’t like the informant. Well, no shitz! Nobody likes the informant. He doesn’t even like himself. But jury verdict 11-1 for acquittal. Just two examples of incredible jury decisions. Of course we are talking about CA juries in a liberal county. I finally had enough and quit working n court.

      I am the first to agree that serving time in prison doesn’t rehabilitate a criminal. HOWEVER, time in prison means the felon can’t be committing other crimes against law abiding taxpayers while he is in prison. Don’t even mention the cost of keeping the felon in prison. Before one raises that issue a serious look at how much taxpayer money is saved by keeping the felon in prison rather than the revolving door of our court system. We might even be able to lay off a couple of judges instead of adding more every year or two.

  4. “questions about why someone facing a murder charge in another state would be released from custody after being arrested for a serious domestic violence offense.”

    Answer: Liberals

    • Aww Vinny, that didn’t even require any thinking at all…. way too easy. In fact it’s becoming the answer to almost everything that starts with ” What kind of fucked up logic would it take to…”

  5. @05Banana,

    You asked about mold treatment. I am reluctant to post that info here since it is not gun-related, most folk will not be interested, and it will be a few long posts.

    • Thanks for thinking of me, though.
      Maybe “Rust prevention in a beach city” would sell better?
      Cheers, Life Savor!

      • I posted my cell number during our last exchange. You could ping me with some contact info, even if it is just a dummy email address.

        • Happy Sunday, Savor!
          I sent my contact info soon after you posted your data. Please check number and advise corrections, but do not repeat sending it all.
          For instance, “Fifth number should be a 2” would be safer than resend.
          Regards, 05B.

  6. It seems our dummy Leftists have not learned that prison and jail are for punishment. There is NO “rehabilitation”. If a convict rehabs, he does it because he wants to. Not because of any social engineering.

    • I worked for a reasonable judge who made the very same comment. He said he never considered rehab when sentencing. He said that was within the person himself. Either he had determined to not commit any further crime or had not. Whatever the sentence was was irrelevant. He sentenced based on the anti-social aspects of the crime — but of course, he had to also follow the guidelines in CA for sentencing which often times tied his hands in sentencing.

    • Portland, was it Wal-Mart or Cracker Barrel that closed every last one of their locations in Portland?

      • Both. First WalMart and recently Cracker Barrel. It really shouldn’t take 12 days for a District Attorney’s office to file a motion to have bail increased and have it calendared. That is absolute incompetence on the part of the DA. I worked in court for 25 years. It should have taken the DA, at maximum for a criminal of this significance to get a bail hearing before a judge no more than 2 days. And that’s in a county with a very active criminal calendar. A smaller county would have the bail hearing that afternoon.

  7. once again in case idiots have not realized it yet…

    1. There has never been a law that can stop someone from choosing to commit a crime. Laws do not prevent crime.

    2. There has never been a law that has stopped an in progress crime. Laws do not stop crime, see #1 above.

    3. There has never been a law that kept a victim of violent crime from being a victim of violent crime. Laws do not keep people safe, see #1 above.

    4. Any violent criminal that is permitted to roam around in society has more liberty than the law abiding, because the law allows them the opportunity to continue to make the choice to commit violent crime.

    5. See # 1, and repeat read this list as necessary until common sense happens.

    • Liberals pea brains cannot comprehend what you wrote. Laws only set punishment’s for behaviors society deems inappropriate. That is all laws do.

    • .40 cal,

      dacian the demented and MinorLiar could read that list forever (assuming either of them can actually read) and it wouldn’t change a thing. They are impervious to evidence, reason, logic, and are devoid of common sense. Being a Leftist/fascist is a mental disease.

      Or, as another wise person put it, “You can’t use logic to convince someone to abandon a position that they didn’t use logic to get to.” All of us come to incorrect conclusions, from time to time – that’s the nature of being human. The question is, is your brain capable of reviewing evidence, applying reason, and saying, “Oops, I f***ed up.” If not . . . well, then you are dacian, or MinorLiar, or one of their legion of fellow homo motus.

    • Truth, .40 cal. It seems the Leftists “think” (sic) that just passing a law will solved the world’s problems. The don’t seem to get the “think” (sic) that criminals don’t obey the law anyway.

    • Booger: I like the way you think. I agree with your comments. The legal system’s violence protection program is “get a restraining order.” Sure, defend yourself against a criminal intent on harming you with a piece of paper. The pen might be mightier than the sword but a gun beats both of those. The saying “Power comes out of the barrel of a gun” didn’t say “power comes from a piece of paper tightly grasped on one’s hand.”

  8. Libertarians liberals in the left are getting their wish. There are fewer people being sent to jail and prisons in the United States. Our prisoner population is going down. That has always been their primary goal. They are not interested in incarcerating criminals. They simply don’t believe criminals should be locked up. But they also don’t believe that the law abiding and Property Owners should be able to kill dead on site criminals who attack them, or criminals who attempt to take their property from them.

    But they are all quite comfortable with the government killing to protect government property, or incarcerating criminals who steal and/or vandalize government property.

  9. Shocking, Gun Free Zone Sign Didn’t Stop This Tampa Gunman as Bouncer Stops Potential Mass Shooting.

    • quoted from above video link…

      “Now, I know what you’re thinking – what does this have to do with gun-free zones? Well, if you take a closer look, there is a gun-free zone sign on the front entrance of the building that this criminal shockingly ignored.

      Now, if that security guard wasn’t there, would that gun-free zone sign stop this guy from entering this place with his gun?

      No, this guy would have walked right past that sign and shot that club up, and that sign would still be in the front, stopping absolutely nothing.

      Gun-free zone signs are an advertisement to criminals because they know all the little normies inside likely followed the rule of no guns allowed.

      So, that criminal now knows he’s probably going to be the only person with a gun inside.

      It’s no secret that the vast majority of mass shootings happen in places where people are not allowed to carry guns.

      From 1950 through 2018, 97.8% of mass shootings have happened in gun-free zones (https://archive.is/L1Qhq), and 96.2% between 1998 and December 2015 (https://archive.is/L1Qhq).

      Gun-free zones are a placebo effect designed to make people feel safe without actually being safe.”

      (and to add: Research shows that overall from 1950 to present day – yes into 2023 – 95% of mass shooting have happened in ‘no guns zones’ designated either by law, by practice or policy, or by owners of property)

  10. we
    the people
    in order to form a more perfect union
    establish justice
    *establish justice*
    <<>>
    its
    the
    primary
    role
    of
    government

  11. Dunno how I missed this story here yesterday.

    The incompetence of government is… staggering.

    In future I imagine we’ll have the adjective “governmental” having a somewhat similar meaning to “colossal” or “monumental” but with an mostly or entirely negative connotation.

    In the remake of Law Abiding Citizen Gerard Butler can say to Jamie Foxx that “It’s gonna be governmental”.

    • Thanks for the heads-up on that one, man. 🙂

      I stumbled across an older one a few days back that was good, ‘Man On Fire’…

  12. While the left goes crazy trying to tell everyone to “follow the science”, none of them are capable of seeing the forest through the trees. Even for those that have spent a decade in school after getting a diploma. Over educated people that have no clue. Dominated by emotion and an irrational fear of guns, they just cannot seem to grasp the concept that there might be other considerations.

    You cannot fix the problem if your going to refuse to even acknowledge its existence. To the point of burning at the stake all those that actually are able to see and handle the problem. This is why it always takes so long to advance as a species.

    The brainwashed cultists are convinced that the rational and the sane need re-education.

    • Everyone is dominated by emotion. It’s how the brain is built. The question is how quickly they can get past the emotion and move to rational information processing.

      The Left, however, makes emotional arguments because they work on the uninitiated but the Leftists don’t actually believe those arguments themselves. For them, where emotion does take over, it’s because it backs a preconceived notion or serves as a smoke screen like a squid releasing ink.

      They use such arguments as a strategy because the Right, traditionally, pays no attention to this sort of thing and therefore tries to argue an otherwise “normal” person out of a position which was not arrived at logically but rather via emotion. You can’t reason a person out of a position they emoted themselves into, you must emote them out of it.

      This creates two classes of people to deal with. The liars and the manipulated. If you wish to reach the manipulated you must do so emotionally, generally via storytelling. Reaching the liars isn’t possible because they don’t care and never did. They have alternative goals which they don’t openly discuss because that wouldn’t further their agenda.

      This is why they always push to “do something” immediately. This can shift government policy quickly and in their favor. Undoing that is a herculean effort.

      So long as you allow this game to be played, mostly unopposed, they will win by attrition. As you said, you can’t fix a problem you won’t admit exists. The Right has two. Leftists and an inability to understand how the Left functions in terms of manipulating other people.

    • Prndll, “Over educated people that have no clue.”
      Remember, an educated idiot is still an Idiot!

    • Prndll,

      “Education”, in the abstract, is neither good, nor bad. As a GENERAL proposition, I would posit that more ‘education’ tends to be a positive. Like all generalizations, the real answer is “it depends”. Most of what attempts to pass as ‘education’ in all public schools, and most colleges, these days can only be characterized as ‘education’ by the indoctrinated liars or the hopelessly naive.

      MORE ‘education’ can only help those with a functioning mind only if it is real education. Piling letters behind your name does NOT make you smarter. OTOH, some intelligent people pursue advanced education, and may even benefit from it (other than having a ‘better resume’) by learning something.

      I would posit that those people are vastly in the minority. Confirmation bias is actually a thing.

      • What I see out there in great unwashed is that you cannot operate on a cookie cutter mentality because so much is relative. I am all for a greater understanding of the universe and the world around us. But that isn’t what ‘education’ is becoming. Our youth are being taught to hate us, our country, and themselves. They are being taught hate. It has been proven time and again how anyone with enough motivation can succeed just as well if not better without a degree. I have one so lets not twist words here. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to make (or have made) alot of money. Understanding the feeling Poe tried to convey just isn’t going to do much for most people. It might (as they say) make you a more well rounded individual though. Then a little opiod in your life will rob you of all that.

        It’s this idea that ONLY a doctor is qualified to tell me I need a bandaid on a cut. This is the reason we have a Supreme Court Justice that doesn’t know what a woman is. Yes I know she was just trying to look good to a minority group. This whole thing is just plain crazy, if not lunacy. We are going to lose this country if something isn’t done about it.

  13. @Prndll & Strych9:
    Thank you both for your clear-as-crystal descriptions of our unfortunate reality.
    We already live in a giant ant farm populated by hungry-for-direction consumers of emotion. Addicts, actually.
    I dare anyone to watch a single episode of any “reality” show and then try to refute your posts.
    My answer to this nightmare as a Christian was to become evangelical. As the Communists and all dictator types all understand, you must effect a sea change inside someone else before they will become convinced to follow, and to show evidence of being changed. They are pleased to be evil incarnate. We claim to be benign.
    I prefer to offer obedience to God rather than addiction to personal power and the assumption of personal (victimhood-based) privilege over others. Humility and personal responsibility rather than racial or class-based raw hatred. YMMV.
    Please allow me to nominate you both for the TTAG “1 Corinthians 13:12” award for 2023…
    05B

  14. Is the Arkansas prosecutor a Soros-financed subversive? Maybe she was scared of being labelled a racist if she didn’t let a ‘person of color’ walk? Since it is already against the law to shoot at or murder people, how would more gun laws have stopped this guy? This is just another example of trying to blame guns for the actions of criminals. These anti-gun activists have an agenda and your safety is not it.

  15. n my 63 years on this mudball, I’ve seen enough bad from every shade of skin color to tell me every group has its share of bad actors, so I don’t judge by skin color but by someone’s actions.
    I do believe how a person is raised has a lot to do with how they’ll turn out, and so far, I’ve not seen anything to disabuse me of that notion.
    This guy sounds like a bad actor, with a Rap Sheet that goes back a ways, and he shouldn’t have been loose on the streets to commit another crime. Lawyers and Legislators have made a right Fustercluck of the Laws, whining about “Perps Rights” while ignoring their Victim’s Rights, and that’s one reason why our country’s in the mess that it is.

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