The outside of the courthouse

An Ithaca woman was rightfully convicted in 2013 for her role in an armed robbery plot involving sex, an appeals court ruled on Thursday.

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Elizabeth D. Minor, then 34, was found guilty on robbery and conspiracy charges for helping Jameel Melton, then 30, rob a victim who was seeking sex.

Minor sought to have her conviction overturned, arguing that she was threatened by Melton and that their trials should have been conducted separately. The Tompkins County District Attorney’s Office disputed the appeal.

In a unanimous ruling issued by by the Appellate Division, Third Department, Judge J.P. Lahtinen said the court was not persuaded by Minor’s appeal.

“The evidence that Melton pointed his gun in defendant’s general direction for a ‘split second’ when giving her directions and that she briefly apologized to the victim when leaving does not convince us that the weight of the evidence established duress,” Lahitnen writes.

“After viewing the proof in a neutral light while giving deference to the jury’s credibility determinations … we are unpersuaded that the jury’s verdict was against the weight of the evidence as to any of the crimes of which defendant was convicted.”

Background on the case

According to the court’s ruling, Minor met with the victim the night before the robbery. The victim paid Minor for sex, according to the ruling.

When Minor returned, she came with Melton.

“Melton demanded to know where the victim kept his money and, when he denied having money in the apartment, Melton pointed a gun – later identified as an unloaded air gun – at the victim’s head,” court records state.

“The victim then disclosed where the keys to his safe were located; defendant retrieved the keys, opened the safe and removed $175. Additional items of the victim’s personal property were placed in pillowcases by defendant.”

You can read the ruling in full below:

Gunpoint robbery ruling


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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.