Last December, Melanie Botts’s 61-year-old boyfriend called 911 and reported that Botts was “out of control again,” according to her arrest report. The two had fought. There was food scattered all over the kitchen and living room. She’d locked herself in the bathroom. Her boyfriend said she tried to stab him with a kitchen knife the day before.
When deputies tried to talk her into walking out of the bathroom, Botts, 36, cussed them out and threatened to shoot herself in the head if they walked in. Additional Flagler County Sheriff’s units rushed to the house at 20 Beth Lane in Palm Coast. The boyfriend informed them there were no guns in the house. They managed to calm Botts down and convince her to leave the bathroom, but when deputies were patting her down, she kicked a deputy twice. By the time she was booked at the Flagler County jail, she faced charges of domestic battery, aggravated assault and battery on a cop, the last one a felony. The second charge was later changed to improper exhibition of a dangerous weapon.
In late January she was found guilty on all three, served a month in jail and was sentenced to two years’ probation. She had not long before completed probation on a conviction on five charges, four of them drug-related, one of them for illegally carrying a concealed weapon. She’d violated probation several times and had ended up jailed for six months.
Monday night, it was the boyfriend’s 11-year-old son who called his mother crying and asking to be picked up from the Beth Lane house because, he told his mother, Botts had grabbed a knife. Deputies rushed to the scene, eventually numbering around a half dozen units, along with county and city paramedics. Botts at first had fled, but then was found and was threatening–urging–suicide by cop, according to her arrest report.
The argument this time had started either because Botts got upset when her boyfriend fired an airsoft gun’s shot at her (as the 11 year old described it: the boy had been playing with his father), or because she and her boyfriend got into an argument over her latest probation violation. A probation violation report had been filed with the court that very day. Either way, at some point Botts went to the kitchen, allegedly took out a butcher knife, slammed it on a cutting board and pointed it at her boyfriend before stepping out and sitting on the porch–with the knife. There, she allegedly told her boyfriend that if he approached, she’d kill him.
When deputies first arrived at the scene they’d been told that Botts had left the scene. They began to search the area with a K-9 unit. They found her in the backyard. According to one sheriff’s report, she was screaming and taunting the police dog, “and begging law enforcement to shoot her.”
It was reminiscent of a scene on Pine Brook Drive in September 2015 when three deputies confronted a woman with a gun who was taunting them to shoot her. The gun turned out to be a toy gun, though the deputies did not know it at the time: they refrained from firing (one of numerous such instances of restraint in the last six years), and eventually neutralized the woman with a Taser shot. (A year later, the woman shot herself and died.)
Deputies confronting Botts took out their weapons and ordered her to drop the knife. At one point she was attempting to enter the house from the back. At the time, her boyfriend and the 11 year old boy were still in the house. When deputies started pursuing her, she turned around, the knife still at her throat. “I backed away from Melanie in an attempt to deescalate the situation and provide a larger reactionary gap,” deputy Jacob West reported, one of several details illustrating the deputies’ restraint.
“Melanie continued to make suicidal statements and one point let out a loud cynical laugh,” West wrote. “I continued to speak with Melanie, but Melanie would not interact or respond.”
Sgt. Joseph Barile then fired a Taser dart at Botts in a repeat of the 2016 incident, and Botts was brought under control. After she was placed in a patrol vehicle, she was told paramedics could assess her injuries. She rebuffed the deputy with an insult and allegedly slammed her head against the partition in the patrol vehicle, lacerating her forehead. She was taken to AdventHealth Palm Coast, cleared, then brought to the Flagler County jail, where she was booked at 3:30 this morning. Deputies also filled out Baker Act forms, but based on her booking information, she has not been Baker Acted.
Botts faces two felonies–aggravated assault and probation violation and a misdemeanor charge of resisting an officer.