The son of Oheka Castle owner and political donor Gary Melius has emerged as a "person of interest" in the shooting six months ago that left Melius seriously wounded, a source said.
Investigators have looked at Thomas Melius, 34, who is the son of Melius' wife, Pam, and who was adopted by Gary Melius, while conducting scores of interviews and also combing through thousands of pages of records connected to Melius' businesses and finances. The source said the investigation is ongoing.
Thursday night, Gary Melius said he believed that police spent at least four months looking into his son because of his problems with drugs, but found "not one shred of evidence that points to him."
"They have questioned him. They have questioned his wife, everybody," he said in an interview. "They have not one thing to physically connect him to this. Not one phone call, not anything."
Melius said he also doesn't believe his son could have hired someone to shoot him. "He's been an addict for many years and hasn't been hanging out . . . with top-notch people. . . . But there is nothing leading to Thomas in all these six months."
Police should be looking at a political foe in connection with the shooting, Melius said. He said he sent an email to investigators about the foe Thursday. Suffolk police did not respond to a request for comment.
Melius has given more than $700,000 to Long Island politicians of both parties since the late 1990s.
Records show that Thomas Melius was released from a monthslong jail stint on Feb. 19, days before his father was shot on Feb. 24.
Thomas Melius' attorney, Dennis Lemke of Mineola, said his client is on probation while continuing to seek drug treatment on an outpatient basis.
Court records show Thomas Melius was sentenced in June in connection with five cases in Nassau County going back to 2012: On April 13, 2012, he was charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. He later pleaded guilty. On Aug. 9, 2012, Melius was arrested on charges including assault on a police officer, to which he later pleaded guilty.
On April 26, 2013, Melius was arrested and charged with three misdemeanor counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance and later pleaded guilty to a single count.
On May 26, 2013, he was arrested on a felony grand larceny charge and later pleaded guilty to that charge. On Nov. 20, 2013, he was charged with the felony of introducing dangerous contraband in the jail and later pleaded guilty to the charge.
Lemke acknowledged Thursday that there's been "speculation all over the place" about the shooting. The son's whereabouts during the shooting "have been well documented" and it's been verified that he was in an inpatient drug program at the time, Lemke said.
"There's nothing linking him to the shooting," Lemke said. "There's no proof of this whatsoever and we deny it." He added that there is nothing linking Thomas Melius to anyone else who might have been involved in the shooting.
Melius, 70, was in his Mercedes-Benz at the Oheka Castle parking area in Huntington when he was ambushed and shot once in the forehead about 12:30 p.m. Law enforcement sources at the time said surveillance video showed what appeared to be a black Infiniti pulling into the valet area, followed by the Jeep that carried the shooter.
The shooter was described as wearing a mask, a black hooded sweatshirt, dark blue jeans and white sneakers.
Melius was shot once through the driver's side window. The video, according to sources, showed the person who shot Melius tried and failed to fire at least three more times after the politically influential developer stumbled out of his car and headed toward the castle's employee entrance. Suffolk police have yet to release footage of the surveillance video.
With Tania Lopez