• Jury recommends death for James Colley in double murder trial


    REPORT: Colley laughed about killings, cellmate claims
    STORY: New evidence against Colley in double murder revealed
    STORY: Man, woman barely escaped Murabella shooting

    PHOTO GALLERY: Who is who in the Colley double murder case?
    PHOTO GALLERY: Colley keeps head down during graphic testimony

    PHOTO GALLERY: Colley's family sits behind him in court 

    WATCH LIVE: Day 3 of the penalty phase of the Colley murder trial 

    A St. Johns County jury voted 12-0 to sentence James Colley Jr. to death after less than three hours of deliberations.

    Colley was found guilty of murdering his estranged wife and her best friend in 2015.

    Live updates from inside the courtroom:

    4:04 p.m. The jury recommends Colley be sentenced to death for the murder of his estranged wife and her best friend.

    Colley said, "I love you guys," to his family as he walked out of the courtroom.

    In the crowd were his immediate family, his girlfriend and his neighbors.

    His family was somber as the verdict was read.

    The trial for James Colley, the St. Johns County man accused of killing his estranged wife and her best friend, was intense and emotional.

    The state labeled Colley as selfish, jealous and calculated. 

    In 2015, Colley shot his estranged wife Amanda nine times before turning the gun on her friend Lindy Dobbins. 

    The lives of the two mothers were ended in minutes. 

    As the case unfolded for the jury, Colley became emotional, at times wiping tears from his eyes. 

    After being convicted in the double murders, Colley’s case went to a penalty phase. 

    His legal team blamed intoxication, saying Colley snapped and that the killings were never part of his plan. 

    “This isn’t a man planning on killing anyone, this is a man who is upset,” his defense lawyer said.

    The defense urged the jury to consider the concept of ‘mercy’ when deciding their recommendation. 

    3:58 p.m. The jury has reached a verdict in the penalty phase of James Colley's trial.


    12:45 p.m. The jury has begun deliberating in the penalty phase of the James Colley trial. 

    The jurors will determine if Colley gets the death sentence or life in prison.

    The jury must be unanimous for him to be sentenced to death.

    10:56 a.m.  Defense begins closing arguments, could take up to 2 hours. Colley’s legal team argues the concept of ‘mercy’ to consider when deciding their recommendation.

    10:09 a.m.  The State decided not to call an additional expert & go straight to Closings. After Defense closings, jury should begin deliberations.  

    Colley's sentence recommendation can come as early as Wednesday.

    9:34 a.m. Colley looks down as the jury is shown autopsy photos of Amanda Colley. 

    9:30 a.m. The state says as Amanda is pleading for her life, points to James Colley "He doesn't care."

    9:09 a.m. The state began closing arguments in the third day of the penalty phase.

    TUESDAY 7/24/18 NOTES:

    11:09 a.m.  The next witness called to the stand is Crystal Colley Wright, James' sister. 

    9:10 a.m. The first witness is Dr. Daniel Buffington. He is a pharmacologist he also testified as an expert in the Donald Smith case. Buffington says Colley did not have prior issues with Ambien.

    MONDAY 7/23/18 NOTES:

    Click here for more information on the first day of the penalty phase.

    11:29 a.m. State cross examines Dr. Mills.

    10:52 a.m.  Defense calls Dr. Mark Mills as their witness. Mills is a forensic psychiatrist from Maryland. He has testified as a witness over 500 times. He believes Colley suffered a parasomnia event because of the drugs and Ambien he was taking.

    10:09 a.m. Lindy's husband, Chris Dobbins, takes the stand. They were married for 12 years. 

    Chris told their children there was a lockdown because "there was an accident involving Mommy and Ms. Amanda and Mommy is dead."

    10:05 a.m. Next witness is William Mosler, Lindy's father.

    9:59 a.m. The next witness is called ot the stand. Beth Kennedy was a college friend of Amanda's since 1999.

    9:52 a.m.  The state presents a victim impact statement from Tammy Malone, Amanda Colley's sister.

    9:43 a.m. Defense says Colley had a couple of drinks the night before the murders and on the morning of the murder, he did several lines of cocaine with his friends. 

    Defense said Colley was substantially impaired and also had Ambien the morning of the murders. 

    9:31 a.m. Defense: "At no time are you compelled to return a verdict of death penalty in this case."

    9:11 a.m. The judge asked each juror if their verdicts were for first degree murder and not second degree murder. They all replied with 'yes.'

    The penalty phase for James Colley has begun. Colley was convicted on July 18 for the 2015 murders of his estranged wife and her friend. 

    Victim impact statements and state experts are expected to be heard in the courtroom. 

    It took a jury two hours to sentence Colley for the murders of Amanda Colley and Lindy Dobbins. 

    The state wants the death penalty for Colley whereas defense plans to argue for life in prison because they say Colley's mental state is a mitigating factor that should lower the sentence from death. 

    WEDNESDAY 7/18/18 NOTES:

    11:52 a.m. The judge says the jury will be back on Monday for the penalty phase of the trial. It could take 3-4 days, the judge says. 

    11:51 a.m. The jury is being polled. 

    11:48 a.m. The jury has found Colley guilty of two counts of first-degree murder. Members of the Colley family and the Dobbins family could be seen crying in the courtroom.

    Colley is guilty on all seven counts, including attempted first-degree murder, burglary and aggravated stalking. 

    11:40 a.m. The judge has been seated. The court is waiting on the jury, as well as some members of Amanda Colley and Lindy Dobbins family.

    11:35 a.m. The verdict has come down. 

    11:15 a.m. Jury has a question.

    Jury asked about the attempted 1st degree murder charge of Rachel Hendricks. The question was answered, and the jury is now being given a 15 minute break.

    9:35 a.m. The Jury has begun deliberations and a verdict could come down as soon as Wednesday.

    TUESDAY 7/17/18 NOTES:

    1:42 p.m. Closing arguments have begun. The state said that James Colley killed his wife and her best friend because he hated her new boyfriend and felt rejected. 

    10:47 a.m. Sgt. Jean Tolbert called as rebuttal witness for the State. Deliberations for the verdict are scheduled to begin tomorrow.

    10:08 a.m. The defense rest.

    9:57 a.m. The next defense witness is Tammy Folsom. She is Ronda Colley's housekeeper and dog sitter. Folsom says James Colley is like a brother. James Colley was living at his sister Rhonda's house at the time of the murders.

    9:31 a.m. James' sister Ronda Colley is the next defense witness. Ronda told the courtroom Amanda was one of her best friends. She said she spoke with James about marital problems the couple were having. 

    "I was in shock, my brother was accused of murder," Ronda Colley said. The State points out inconsistencies in details she discussed 3 years ago.

    State: "You would do anything for your brother would you?"

    Ronda Colley:  "To a point."

    9:08 a.m. First Defense witness is Detective Causey. He testified Monday as well. Causey extracted information from Amanda and James Colley's cellphones. One of the text messages from Amanda days before the murders took place: "You have seriously lost it."

    8:26 a.m. Day 4 in the Colley murder trial is underway. The defense is set to begin making its case.

    The judge told the courtroom Colley will not be testifying. Defense's witnesses will include Colley's sisters. The judge said jury will begin deliberations Wednesday. 

    Follow Bridgette Matter on Twitter for live updates from the courtroom. 

    MONDAY 7/17/18 NOTES:

    1:55 p.m. Defense says they will present around five witnesses on Tuesday. They are still discussing if Colley will testify. 

    1:45 p.m. After two and a half days of testimony, the state has rested. 

    1:05 p.m. Testimony has resumed after a break. FDLE DNA analyst Emily Martin is on the stand.

    10:43 a.m. Matthew Hubbard Norton VA PD is the State's next witness. Hubbard said he pulled Colley over and an AR 15 and handgun were found inside his vehicle. Hubbard says he then arrested Colley.

    Hubbard says bullets, cash, a wallet, and broken glass were found in Colley's pockets.

    10:11 a.m. The next witness takes the stand. SJCSO digital forensics examiner David Causey goes over text messages between Colley and a "Mike and Gail." Colley asked repeatedly if Amanda's car was in the driveway in the messages.

    10:06 a.m. Mason leaves the courtroom in tears, looking at Colley. She said she had plans with Colley the day of the murders and wanted to introduce their kids to each other. 

    10:00 a.m. Mason says the night before the murders, she and Colley spoke on the phone and texted. She says Colley asked Mason to come stay with him.

    9:56 a.m. The next witness is called to the stand. Amy Mason was a co- worker of Colley's. Mason said she and Colley became friends and begin dating after Colley found out about Amanda Colley, his wife's affair. The two became even more serious when Amanda filed for divorce. 

    9:45 a.m.  The State reviews several phone calls made from Colley's phone using a map and explanation from an FDLE agent.

    9:14 a.m. Courthouse surveillance video shows Colley entering the courthouse in 2015.

    9:12 a.m. Testimony is underway in day 3 of the James Colley trial. The first witness is St. Johns County Sheriff's Office deputy Tim Rollins.

    FRIDAY 7/13/18 NOTES:

    4 p.m. One of James Colley's friends, Mike Dickens, is testifying. He told the jury that Colley told him he had "ransacked" his former residence at Bellagio Drive and had broken televisions. He told the defendant that it was "stupid" to do that and would only get in trouble. 

    The friend testified that Colley was upset at sex toys found in the home.  

    Dickens said he once took a photograph of a man cutting grass at Amanda Colley's home. 

    A St. Johns County deputy was the final witness for the day. He testified that he went to the Speedway station on County Road 210 to look at videotape that allegedly showed Colley buying gas and other items before driving off in his sister's Infiniti. 

    3 p.m. Court is back in session. The state has called Detective Samantha English with the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office. 

    English testifies that she immediately left for Virginia when she received word that Colley had been detained. Colley was about 10 hours from Jacksonville at the time. English says she arrived at 9 a.m. and had asked local authorities to secure his vehicle.

    English says Colley bought beer and cigarettes at a gas station near his sister's house on County Road 210 shortly after the shootings. 

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    Recess until 2:55 p.m. 

    2 p.m. Medical examiners are testifying to injuries observed on the victims' bodies. 

    The state spent time going through pictures of Amanda Colley's autopsy photos with Dr. Predrag Bulic. James Colley did not look at the pictures and kept his head down.

    Amanda Colley had multiple gunshots wounds, the doctor testified. Medical Examiner says Amanda Colley's gunshot wounds indicate she was trying to defend herself when shot.

    The medical examiner also said Lindy Dobbins was shot three times, including one round to the temple. 

    11:40 a.m. Break for lunch. 

    11:20 a.m. A data recovery specialist explains how a program called "cellebrite" is used to extract data from cell phones. Says James Colley made 22 calls to Amanda Colley on the day of the murder. 

    10:40 a.m. Deputy Pittman of the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office says the injunction states James Colley was not to be within 500 feet of Amanda Colley's Murabella home or her workplace. He says this was explained to James Colley. 

    10:16 a.m. Brief recess called by Judge until 10:35 a.m.

    9:54 a.m. - The state begins to go through different pictures, with Keegan, inside of the home on Garrison Drive in the South Hampton subdivision off County Road 210.

    One of the pictures shows a gun holster, gun case & ammunition found in the bedroom Colley was using.

    9:44 a.m. - Questioning has ended for the second witness. The prosecution calls SJC Crime Scene Tech Kristine Keegan to the stand. Keegan says in court she was called to a home on Garrison Drive in South Hampton on Aug. 27 around 3:05 p.m. for an investigation related to the scene at the MuraBella home.

    9:33 a.m. - A second witness, Richard Ciliberti is called to the stand. He also lives in the South Hampton area of St. Johns County.

    9:23 a.m. - Day 2 in the murder trial of James Colley is underway. The prosecution called witness Brittany Manno to the stand. She works in the South Hampton area of St. Johns County.

    James Colley was living with his sister in the same area at the time of the killings.

    Manno says while she walking a dog, she overheard James Colley Sr., Colley's father on the phone, saying, "Please son, come back and get your truck. Don't do this, everybody knows what you've been through."

    THURSDAY 7/12/18 NOTES:

    4:35 P.M. Testimony has wrapped for the day. 

    2 P.M. Prosecution has now called witness four, Jennifer Meadows, to the stand. She says she remembers sitting at her kitchen table on Aug. and hearing several gunshots. Meadows says she did not call police. She is excused from the stand.

    Prosecution than called St. Johns County Sheriff's Deputy Samuel Delucca to the stand.

    Deputy Delucca says he responded to the shooting call at the Colley's marital Murabella home at 10:38 a.m. He told the jury that deputies moved throughout the house and searched each room. Delucca said he's the one who found Lindy Dobbins in the closet.

    1:30 P.M. Trial is back in session after a lunch break. The state is continuing with their case with witness No. 3, Lamar Douberly, to the stand. Douberly is the other survivor. 

    Douberly says he was separated from his wife but noted that he was not legally separated -- at the time of his relationship with Amanda Colley. He says he was aware Amanda was going through a divorce.

    Douberly says he ran through the laundry room and through the garage to safety. He told the jury that he came back to the scene of the killings to give a statement to authorities.

    10:45 A.M. The state calls Rachel Hendricks to the stand. She was a friend of Amanda Colley. She was inside the Murabella home during the killings.

    The state plays Hendricks' 911 call from the day of the shooting to the Jury. "He point blank shot my friend in front of me," Hendricks fearfully describes to a 911 operator.

    Hendricks can repeatedly be heard telling the 911 operator, "I'm scared, I'm scared...I'm scared. He's going to come and find me."

    10 A.M. The defense has begun opening arguments. 

    "It's never been a question who did that," the defense said. 

    The defense says James Colley was trying to keep his family together. The defense explains Colley developed anxiety which lead to other health problems including depression and panic attacks. He was taking Rxs including Hydrocodone, Percocet, and he was also prescribed Ambien to help with sleep.

    After a brief recess, the defense tells the jury Ambien can cause memory loss, sleepwalking, and other acts people have no recollection of. 

    9:25 A.M. Prosecutor is speaking fo the first time. She says Colley was not supposed to be within 500 feet of his enraged wife. The state says that Amanda Cloaninger Colley was seeing Lamar Doublerly, a man she met at work. 

    The state also says James Colley also had a new girlfriend that he had also met at work. 

    During the shooting, the state says Colley kept screaming, "Where is he?", referring to Doublerly. He then shot his wife, the state says. He then shot Lindy Dobbins in the temple, the state said. 

    After he shot Dobbins, Colley returned to his wife and shot her again while insulting her, the state said. Colley used two guns during the shooting, prosecutors said. 

    Dobbins was shot in the neck, and it severed her spinal cord, the state said. Colley left a 9 mm gun on the floor and left the house, the state said, 

    According to the state, Colley left in his sister's Infiniti convertible and threw his cell phone on a street in the Southhampton neighborhood off County Road 210. He left the state with a .45 caliber gun and an AR-15, the state said. 

    Doublerly had escaped the shooting and ran through the neighborhood before encountering a landscaper who helped alert authorities. 

    "The defendant was angry and rejected," the state said. "He was going there to kill her [on that date]."

    9 A.M. Judge Howard Maltz has brought in the jury and is giving instructions. He says the jury will be on a break around 10:30 a.m. Thursday. 

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