Jury deliberating fate of accused killer James Bradley - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Jury deliberating fate of accused killer James Bradley


A jury continued deliberating on Wednesday in the murder trial for James Bradley, who was charged 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. 

A verdict could be delivered on Thursday.

The prosecution has been using several details surrounding the discovery of Tucker's body and Bradley's 1988 conviction for killing his stepdaughter as testimony in this trial.

"What we have here is a Bermuda Triangle, it is going out to sea and Shannon's disappeared," District Attorney Ben David said. "This defendant has unfortunately given us way more evidence than we typically have in a nobody homicide -- he's given us two other bodies."

The defense argues the evidence presented from Tucker's crime scene and Bradley's 1988 conviction is irrelevant in this case.

In closing statements, defense attorney Rick Miller raised questions about the nature in which evidence was seized, including the stains found in Bradley's truck. Those stains were tested and a state crime lab found DNA belonging to Elisha Tucker.

Miller argues there is not enough evidence relating to Van Newkirk's disappearance and presumed death to prove Bradley is guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt."

"These are good people," Miller said, pointing at Van Newkirk's family sitting in the front row. "But if we convict somebody on flimsy evidence, does that resolve anything? Does that make anything better, do two wrongs make a right?"

Throughout the trial, the jury has seen recorded interviews between detectives and Bradley just days after Van Newkirk disappeared.

 "You remember when we were in the interview with him on April 15 and we were like 'You are the only one who can bring her home, where is she?'" David asked the jury. "He said 'I'm not going to let you put a noose around my neck,' he's been here before."

They've heard from special agents in the FBI in regards to phone records, detailing where Bradley and Van Newkirk were in the minutes leading up to the last time she was seen.

The jury has seen surveillance videos from areas Bradley claimed he last saw Van Newkirk and has heard from detectives who explained they couldn't see her in the videos. 

Tuesday, the jury read stories Bradley wrote in prison entitled The Beast Within and Serial Killer >> http://bit.ly/2s20M2s

Connor DelPrete is inside the courtroom tweeting live updates of the closing arguments. Follow him on Twitter (@CDelPreteWECT) and be sure to check back for updates throughout the day. 

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