The Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the first-degree murder convictions and death sentences of a St. Johns County man accused in 2015 of fatally shooting his estranged wife and one of her friends.
Justices unanimously rejected an appeal by James Terry Colley, Jr., who was convicted of killing his estranged wife, Amanda Cloaninger Colley, as she tried to hide from him in a bathroom of her home. He also was convicted of murdering Lindy Dobbins, who was hiding behind a chest in a closet when she was shot, according to the Supreme Court opinion.
Colley, now 40, was also convicted of attempted-murder charges related to two other people who escaped from the home. Colley, who was under a domestic violence injunction at the time of the shootings, suspected that his estranged wife was dating another man and wanted to reconcile with her, the opinion said. He had appeared in court less than two hours before the shootings on a violation of the domestic violence injunction.
The appeal raised a series of issues, including that Colley had been impaired at the time of the shootings, in part because of taking the sleep drug Ambien. But the Supreme Court rejected that argument.
“The state presented evidence that Colley calmly and rationally participated in a court hearing less than two hours before the murders; that Colley calmly shopped at a gas station less than a half-hour before the murders; that Colley armed himself in advance of traveling to the murder location; that Colley had a 20-minute car drive during which to contemplate his intended actions; that Colley rejected his father’s plea shortly before the murders to turn back; that Colley approached the murder scene in a manner designed to conceal himself; that Colley began shooting from outside his estranged wife’s home; and that the victims of Colley’s rampage did not provoke him in any way,” the 32-page opinion said.
–News Service of Florida
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