Jury hears closing arguments in convicted killer’s trial
NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — “Silent witnesses that scream the truth” are the words District Attorney Ben David used to describe the evidence they say they have against James Bradley in the murder trial.
Closing arguments for the twice-convicted Pender County man trial began Monday morning.
Bradley is accused of killing Elisha Tucker, whose body was found in Hampstead in 2014. While investigators were searching for the body of another woman, Bradley was convicted of killing Shannon Rippy Van Newkirk.
David says it’s clear that Bradley is guilty of murdering Tucker.
He spent several hours driving home three main points. He called them the three Bs – the bindings, the body and the blood.
In the prosecution’s closing statement, David says the duct tape bindings found on Tucker’s body matched duct tape found at Bradley’s home.
He says while looking for Shannon Rippy Van Newkirk, investigators found Tucker’s body, linking her to Bradley.
Finally, David says after going back and forth with the lab, they were able to find small traces of blood in Bradley’s truck floor padding. He says that blood contained Tucker’s DNA.
David also said Bradley told investigators that he cleaned his truck three times in just five days back in April of 2014. Just a few weeks later is when they found Tucker’s body.
The defense says David can’t say Van Newkirk is dead.
Based on terms of the trial, David can discuss Bradley’s involvement in Van Newkirk’s disappearance.
David says Bradley and Tucker were seen together on multiple occasions, even introducing her as his girlfriend.
The defense said Bradley and Tucker were dating. Bradley’s attorney asked the jury why Bradley would have reason to kill his girlfriend.
The defense argued that there was no actual blood in Bradley’s truck, even though investigators were eventually able to find a small amount.
They also said that even though the bindings matched the duct tape in Bradley’s home, all duct tape is pretty much the same.
Bradley’s attorney also emphasized that it was not out of the ordinary for people to have seen Bradley with Tucker since they were dating.
The judge dismissed the jury for the day around 3:30 p.m. The jury will begin deliberation Tuesday morning.
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