WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Jury will continue to deliberate for the sentencing of James Bradley after confusion in the courtroom Wednesday morning.
He was recently convicted of killing Elisha Tucker.
The jury spent Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning deliberating whether Bradley should get life in prison without parole or the death penalty.
The judge announced around 12:30 p.m. the jury had unanimously decided for life in prison without parole. That’s when some jury members were seen shaking their heads and one was overhead saying “it wasn’t unanimous” by District Attorney Ben David. David then asked the judge for the jury to keep deliberating. The defense asked for a mistrial and uphold the life in prison without parole verdict.
Court adjourned for a lunch break and came back in session around 2 p.m.
The judge polled the jury, asking whether they did or did not vote in favor of life in prison without parole.
The jury was split 11-1. 11 of those jurors said they did not choose that sentence. Only one juror said she was in support life in prison without parole.
The jury must come to a unanimous decision. If the jury becomes deadlocked, that results in an automatic sentence of life in prison without parole.
This is the third time Bradley has been convicted of murder. Investigators found Tucker’s body in 2014 while they were searching for Shannon Rippy Van Newkirk, another victim of Bradley’s.
Bradley was convicted of Van Newkirk’s murder in June of 2017 and sentenced to between 30 and 37 years in prison. Van Newkirk’s body has never been found.
Bradley also pleaded guilty in 1988 to killing his 8-year-old stepdaughter Ivy Gibson. He spent two decades in prison for that murder.
At around 4:30 p.m., the jury requested to adjourn for the day.
The judge polled the jury twice, asking each juror if they thought further discussion would be beneficial. Five jurors said yes, five said no and two said they thought further discussion might be beneficial.
In North Carolina, 141 people currently sit on death row. Seven of them are from New Hanover, Brunswick, Pender and Columbus counties.
The last person from our area who received the death penalty is Darrell Maness, who was sentenced in 2006 for the murder of Boiling Spring Lakes Police Officer Mitch Prince.
The last execution in North Carolina was in 2009.
Jury deliberation will continue Thursday at 9:30 a.m.