Murder trial of twice-convicted Pender County killer underway

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The trial of twice convicted killer James Bradley continued in Wilmington Tuesday.

Bradley is now accused of killing Elisha Tucker, whose body was found in Hampstead in 2014. The DA’s office is seeking the death penalty.

Witnesses on Tuesday included investigators, a Pender County Sheriff’s deputy, and a Wilmington Police Department CSI worker.

WPD Sgt. Robert “Lee” Odham described how he and two other sergeants found Tucker’s body while searching for Shannon Rippy Van Newkirk, whom Bradley was convicted of killing in 2017.

Odham said he saw a stump sticking up in the middle of a field, and the ground around it was spongy. He says he “bounced” on it, and water was released along with a smell he says he immediately recognized as human decomposition. Another sergeant, Matthew Fox agreed.

Odham said they dug and found trash bags, which contained the remains of a body later identified as Tucker.

The trial is taking place in Wilmington due to hurricane damage at the Pender County Courthouse. It continues tomorrow.

Categories: Local, New Hanover, Pender

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