Proving a motive: Prosecutors present graphic stories written by accused murderer

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - The jurors who will decide the fate of James Bradley heard from his landlord, Alice Meehan, in court Tuesday. Meehan gave evidence to law enforcement following Van Newkirk's disappearance.

Bradley is on trial for murder in the presumed death of Shannon Rippy Van Newkirk who went missing April 5, 2014, one day before her 54th birthday.

Her body has not been found, but the remains of Elisha Tucker were found in the search for Newkirk. Bradley is also charged with the murder of Tucker.

Bradley started renting from Meehan in January 2014.

She says he asked to borrow a Rug Doctor to clean water on the carpet in the bedroom.

Meehan heard about Bradley's arrest on April 29, 2014, from a detective. She helped investigators get access to Bradley's apartment on May 2, 2014.

Meehan said she found a pair of landscaping shears and duct tape around the washer and dryer in Bradley's home.

She also found documents on Bradley's counter that frightened her, stories titled The Beast Within and Serial Killer. Bradley wrote the pieces while he was in prison for the death of his 8-year-old stepdaughter.

"After they [police] left and I went in, I saw the documents on the bar between the kitchen and the living room," Meehan explained. "That frightened me and floored me."

The gruesome stories talk about murdering women and serial killers. Meehan was crying on the stand as the jury read them. An excerpt from the The Beast Within details a monstrous carnivore killer that targeted and preyed on a young woman.

The defense questioned why detectives didn't seize the documents in any earlier searches.

Shannon's brother, Shawn Dayton, has been sitting in the front row every day in court. He took the stand Tuesday morning and, like his mother on day one of the trial, gave a sobering answer to where his sister may be.

"Do you have any reason to believe she [Shannon] is alive?" Assistant District Attorney Barret Temple asked.

"No," Dayton responded. "If she were she would call my mother, they just talked so frequently there is no reason to believe she is."

Connor DelPrete is tweeting live updates from inside the courtroom. Follow him on Twitter (@CDelPreteWECT) throughout the trial.

Here's a look at what happened in court Monday:

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