Judge to rule today on residency question for Jackson Mayor Frank Melton

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Jackson Mayor Frank Melton says his residency has been an established fact for years and can't be used to keep him off Jackson's mayoral ballot.

Melton's testimony came Wednesday in a hearing ordered after the Jackson Democratic Municipal Executive Committee removed his name from the May 5 ballot because Melton filed for a homestead exemption on property taxes in Texas, not Mississippi.

Judge Billy Joe Landrum, appointed by the Mississippi Supreme Court to hear the case, said he would rule by Thursday afternoon.

Melton said he was twice confirmed by the state Senate for state Board of Education posts and again when he was appointed director of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics. He said each agency requires Mississippi residency and he was the subject of "thorough" background checks.

Melton's attorney, John Reeves, also submitted utility bills, tax records and other documents to show Melton's house was in Jackson, where he has lived since the 1980s. Melton has owned the same Jackson home since 1996. Reeves acknowledged that Melton filed homestead exemption on a home in Tyler, Texas, where his wife lives, but he said the mayor lives in Mississippi.

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