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Judge showed concerns about man accused of killing wife, family friend

by: Michael Yoshida Updated:

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ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. - Action News Jax has now learned a judge had concerns about the man accused of killing his wife and her friend.

Investigators say James Colley Jr. drove off from the house in the Murabella community to Norton Virginia.

That's where officers took him into custody during a traffic stop.

Right before the murder happened Colley was in court for violating an order to stay away from his wife. At that time an agreement was reached that at first left the judge with serious concerns.

The St. Johns County judge says, “My problem is if it’s non-reporting unsupervised probation, who the heck is going to monitor it?”

The judge questioned the agreement reached between prosecutors and defense. James Colley was in court Thursday morning for violating a domestic violence order to stay away from his wife.

The St. Johns County judge says, “That all sounds good in theory. I don’t know who’s going to babysit this thing to make sure it’s done.”

Attorney Kyle Bedran says, “Your honor I will personally make sure it’s done."

St. Johns County judge says “With that assurance I’ll go ahead and do what you’re asking me to do."



It was a short time after that agreement was made when police say Colley murdered his wife Amanda Cloaninger-Colley and her close friend, Lindy Dobbins.

Molly Sasso, the divorce attorney for Amanda Cloaniger-Colley says “She absolutely had fear of this person and had for some time and felt that things were escalating.”

Sasso says she was working to help Cloaniger-Colley leave her husband.

Sasso says, “The time when a domestic violence victim is in the most danger is when they decide to leave and that is what has happened here and she has had become a statistic and that is devastating because she was so much more than that.”

The judge had no comment when we asked about what he said in court yesterday.

The State’s Attorney Office says, “We are in the process of reviewing all of the facts and circumstances involved in these cases. But because these cases are pending, it would be inappropriate to comment at this time.”

Attorney Kyle Bedran says, "I think both Judge McGillin and Judge Tinlin, the Assistant State Attorney, and myself made the right call with the facts before us. No one can predict the future unfortunately and we can Monday morning quarterback this all day but nothing at that time indicated Mr. Colley was preparing to do this.”