Attorney General James’ Office of Special Investigation Releases Report on Death of Janet Jordan

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James’ Office of Special Investigation (OSI) today released its report on the death of Janet Jordan in Rochester, Monroe County. Following a thorough and comprehensive investigation, including review of physical evidence, forensic evidence, and video surveillance footage, OSI confirmed that off-duty Rochester Police Department (RPD) Sergeant Melvin Williams murdered Janet Jordan in her home on March 14, 2022, before taking his own life a few hours later.

On March 14, 2022, Janet Jordan got home from where she worked at the Monroe County Public Safety Communication Department at midnight. Security video showed that no one else entered the house until shortly after 2 a.m., when a person turned a surveillance camera mounted at the front door to face the house and used a key to open the door and go inside. An hour later, the surveillance camera footage showed Sgt. Williams leaving Ms. Jordan’s house. Video also showed Sgt. Williams walking to his car, parked in a lot behind a nearby pizzeria, and driving away. Ms. Jordan’s husband then arrived home at 7:15 a.m. after his work shift ended at the Monroe County Jail. He went into his house and called 911 moments later, reporting he had found his wife dead.

Phone records showed that Sgt. Williams sent messages to his wife, family members, and a fellow RPD officer indicating that he planned to take his own life between the hours of 4 and 5:30 a.m. Authorities then pinged his phone, and found it was near a public park. At 9:18 a.m., members of the New York State Police found Sgt. Williams dead in his car at Veterans Memorial Park in Henrietta. Evidence suggested he had shot himself in the head with his RPD service weapon.

Sgt. Williams’ DNA was found on cartridge casings found in Ms. Jordan’s house, and Ms. Jordan’s DNA was found on the sleeves of the jacket Sgt. Williams was wearing when police found his body. A key to Janet Jordan’s house was found in Sgt. Williams’ pants pocket. The medical examiner determined that Ms. Jordan died of gunshot wounds to the head and deemed the manner of death to be homicide. The medical examiner determined that Sgt. Williams died of a single gunshot wound to the head and deemed the manner of death to be suicide. 

A full review of the physical evidence, forensic evidence, and video surveillance footage supports the conclusion that Sgt. Williams was responsible for Janet Jordan’s death. OSI uncovered no evidence indicating that any other person was involved in the homicide. Therefore, there is no basis on which OSI could seek charges against any living person in this case.

Executive Law Section 70-b directs OSI to investigate and, if warranted, prosecute offenses arising from any incident in which the death of a person is caused by a police officer, whether on or off duty. When OSI does not or, as in this case, cannot seek charges against the officer, Section 70-b requires OSI to issue a public report describing its investigation.