It's jail for man arrested 2d time

Posted: September 30, 2006

A blank-faced Gladwyne teenager already facing trial in the DUI death of a 16-year-old girl had his bail revoked yesterday after he was arrested a second time on a drug-possession charge.

Stephen L. Meloni, 19, wearing cargo pants and a T-shirt, was ordered held in the Montgomery County Correctional Facility until the homicide case is heard.

His time served will be credited against any possible future sentence, ruled Court of Common Pleas Judge Rhonda Lee Daniele.

At the same time, Daniele dropped all bail in the new drug-possession charge, which had been set at 10 percent of $100,000 Thursday by a district justice following Meloni's arrest by Narberth police.

Meloni family attorney Leigh Narducci said the youth's father, appearing at the Thursday hearing, had "opted not to post bail."

Frank Meloni did not attend yesterday's hearing.

"It's difficult for any parent to come to court and watch your son be taken to jail," Narducci said, by way of explanation.

But Assistant District Attorney Bradford A. Richman said he viewed the elder Meloni's absence as a "wake-up call" to the youth.

"It's the lifestyle he's in," said Richman, who has pledged to seek more than the mandatory three- to six-year sentence in the homicide case. "At a pure intellectual level, he doesn't get what's happening to him."

Meloni, a freshman at the University of Vermont, was home on spring break when he began partying with friends, using alcohol and marijuana, according to a criminal complaint.

Seven teenagers, including Jessica Easter, of Bala Cynwyd, piled into Meloni's car. When Easter, fearing for her safety, tried to get out of the fast-moving vehicle, she received fatal injuries, the complaint said.

Meloni was released on 10 percent of $75,000 bond soon after the accident. On Wednesday, a patrolman stopped a pickup truck carrying Meloni and two friends. The officer found three to four ounces of marijuana on Meloni and a "blue glass pipe of the type used to smoke marijuana" at his feet, according to court records.

Narducci portrayed his client as a "complex, confused young man" who "has had emotional problems for most of his young life."

Richman, though, said Meloni came from a background in which kids grow up quickly, have fast cars and "just feel untouchable." A hearing is set for Nov. 3.

Contact staff writer Bonnie L. Cook at 610-313-8232 or

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