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Friday, June 3, 2011
Details in Fab Melo case get ugly

By Eamonn Brennan

The details from Syracuse freshman Fab Melo's arraignment hearing earlier this week did not paint a pretty picture. Melo pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of fourth degree criminal mischief, a charge that stemmed from a Monday incident in which Melo broke the windshield wiper and turn signal apparatus on a female's automobile while said female was sitting in the passenger seat, according to court papers.

So, no, not a pretty picture -- but still only a partial one. A few days later, more details about the incident are emerging, and they do not look good for the highly touted but disappointing Syracuse freshman.

Syracuse Orange center Fab Melo
Center Fab Melo has been a disappointment on and off the court so far for the Orange.
According to the Syracuse Post-Standard, which obtained the police incident report filed after an interview with the alleged victim, the woman in question is Melo's girlfriend. Melo and his off-and-on female interest have been involved in physically violent situations "four or five times" since they began dating in October, according to the interview.

Monday's incident was allegedly no different. The woman, a student at SUNY Upstate, said Melo grew angry after seeing messages from other men on the woman's Facebook wall. After that, Melo allegedly threw a computer on the floor. When he realized the computer had been damaged, he began throwing it against the walls. Things only got worse from there:
She went to the apartment’s bathroom and shut the door. She soon left the bathroom, grabbed her belongings and left the apartment. She was in her car when Melo came out of the apartment, picked up some dirt and threw it on her. Melo walked behind the car and demanded she open the trunk.

She refused.

Melo approached the driver’s side, reached in the window and snapped off the turn signal control arm, which also controlled the car’s wipers and high beams.

She noticed Melo was bleeding from the hand.

“Here, you want my blood,” she quoted Melo as saying as he smeared blood on her shirt.

She drove off at that point.

The question now is what effect the incident will have on Melo's career with Syracuse. Will Jim Boeheim be forced to dismiss him from the team? Have there been past incidents the public doesn't know about? How bad is this? Did this pattern of behavior have anything to do with Melo's suspension in February, as OrangeFizz.net reported Wednesday? And what does the following Facebook post from Melo (culled from the link above, because Fab and I aren't friends on Facebook, unfortunately) sound like the big man is ready to move on?
“When I came to Syracuse, I was supposed to focus on school and bball but things went out of my control, I made mistakes and I will deal with it. These 3 years in U.S. was great for me, some people may think the opposite but what I’ve learned in here nobody will take from me.”

There was already doubt as to whether Melo could ever live up to the hype he carried with him before arriving at Syracuse as a freshman. Now, pending the outcome of this case -- and remember, Melo did enter a not guilty plea, so we've yet to hear his side of the story -- he might not get a chance to do so. What a strange, sad turn that would be.