Jurors hear two-hour video of James Bradley interview with WPD

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — In day three of the James Bradley murder trial, jurors are listening to a two hour video recording of an interview with James Bradley and a Wilmington Police Department detective over the disappearance of Shannon Rippy Van Newkirk.

The interview is from April 11, 2014.

Van Newkirk was last seen in downtown Wilmington on April 5, 2014. Bradley is on trial for her murder, even though her body has never been found.

During the interview with detectives, Bradley called Shannon Rippy Van Newkirk “dramatic” and said he was concerned about her because he’s a “spiritual type of person.” Bradley also told detectives when he’s not working, he’s at school or church.

Bradley also admitted to detectives he did try to pursue a relationship with her at one time.

The interview reveals Bradley talked with Van Newkirk 17 times from April 1 to April 5, the day she disappeared. Once she went missing, Bradley had no contact with her. In the video, Bradley gets heated while detectives keep asking questions about the phone calls.

Throughout the interview, Bradley says over and over that Van Newkirk is depressed.

Bradley said Van Newkirk told him she might have to sleep with someone to pay rent. Bradley said Van Newkirk has been depressed lately.

Bradley said he has been trying to find a good job.

“I have a job,” Bradley said. “I work my job. I’m trying to find something better. I go to school. I go to church. I’m trying to do my thing. Crossing my Ts dotting my Is.

The detectives ask Bradley about his relationship between him and Van Newkirk.

Bradley said sometimes they go weeks without talking and something they talk every day. He said when they have a job, they talk more often.

“Every now and then I call and check on her, but I don’t do it every week,” Bradley said. I make a conscious choice every day not to get depressed about my past.”

Bradley said one time he did try to pursue a relationship with Van Newkirk. Bradley said they eat lunch together often.

Detectives tell Bradley they are having a hard time believing him.

“If one of the last people who a missing woman calls has your background, there is a chance that means something, but there’s a chance it doesn’t mean something,” the detective said.

Bradley also talked about his time in prison. He spent 23 years behind bars for killing his step-daughter in 1988.

“How often do you guys talk? Everyday?
“It depends,” Bradley said. “I’ve went weeks without talking to her. If we have a job together we talk more.”

Between April 1, 2014 and Saturday April 5, 2014, the day Van Newkirk disappeared, detectives said Bradley and Shannon spoke on the phone 17 times. Then, Bradley tells detectives he did not know she was missing for four days.

“That blows my mind,” the detective said. “Do you see what I’m saying? After that, you didn’t follow up?”

After lots of back and forth, the detective asks Bradley if he was with her that night.

“Did you pick up Shannon Saturday evening?”
“No I did not,” Bradley said.

According to phone records, before Van Newkirk went missing, she was at the Husk downtown and then headed south.

“Is your truck going to be down there on camera?”
“No,” Bradley said.

“Earlier, it was, ‘I don’t know,'” detective Kevin Tully said referring to an earlier part of the interview with Bradley.

After Bradley’s interview, detectives looked at the city’s traffic cameras and surveillance video from nearby businesses. In court today, the DA showed Tully a surveillance photo of a red truck at a gas station.

“That is Mr. Bradley’s vehicle,” Tully said.

Detectives found Bradley’s truck on surveillance at a gas station at 3rd and Dawson Streets after he said he would not be seen downtown. Then, Bradley is seen on camera inside the store. Finally, the truck is seen one last time, but you can also see someone else.

“You can see that there is a passenger in the car,” Tully said.

These images led investigators to obtain search warrants for Bradley’s car and apartment.

Testimony continued this afternoon on another interview between detectives and Bradley. The trial continues tomorrow.

Categories: Local, New Hanover

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