Justice for family of Nebraska soldier’s murdered daughter

By: Megan Palera
mpalera@klkntv.com

It's life behind bars for a man who brutally murdered the daughter of a Nebraska soldier. Her family says finally, some justice for Melanie.

Melanie Haynes' father is back overseas and was there before the trial started last month. The girl's grandparents still live in York and decided to share their story tonight in hopes that it can help save another child.

Linda and Mike Haynes say they will always remember that walk two years ago on the beach. The last walk they took with their granddaughter, Melanie, before she was brutally killed.

“We're just a common small town family and that night we got the call that she was in the hospital and wasn't going to make it, that was the beginning of our nightmare,” said Melanie's Grandmother, Linda Haynes.

The two-year-old was beaten to death at her home in Georgia. The man responsible, her mother's live-in-boyfriend, Kevin Johnson, a man they had concerns about.

Johnson was alone babysitting the girl and said she fell off a couch and hit her head. A jury found him guilty of murder with malice, felony murder and cruelty to a child among other charges. This week, Johnson was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

The Haynes say it's justice for Melanie. “Fullerton is where she's laid to rest. We went up there, my husband and I, and we told her she could rest in peace now. The man that hurt her is in prison and will never get out,” said Haynes.

Melanie's father, Kevin Haynes, is a sergeant in the U.S. Army and was serving in Afghanistan when it all happened. He's now back overseas but the Hayne's say he is finally ready to move forward and to once again look at the pictures of his beautiful girl.

The Haynes put together a scrapbook to always remember the good times they had with Melanie, their “Spanish Rose.”

The Haynes say they hope others will be more aware of who their kids are around. If you ever have a concern, to do a background check on that person just to be safe.