Elijah James Indicted for Murder of Danielle Brown

UPDATED 8.19.2010 by Julie Montanaro

A Tallahassee man indicted in the murder of Danielle Brown may stand trial in Georgia first.

Elijah James was indicted for robbery and murder in Leon County Wednesday and a judge promptly issued a warrant for his arrest.

Yet James is still in jail in Thomasville, where he faces arson charges for torching Brown's car.

Prosecutors in the two states now have to decide who will try him first.

"We have to coordinate with the district attorney's office in Thomas County and after talking to them we'll make a decision on whether he'll face the charges in Georgia first or the charges here first," said prosecutor Jack Campbell.

Jim Prine in the Thomas County District Attorneys Office says James is scheduled to go to trial there September 27th, but he would not be surprised if the defense files for a change of venue given all the publicity in the case.

Prine says all of that is subject to change if Florida prosecutors want to try James for murder first.
UPDATE 8.18.2010 6:45pm by Julie Montanaro

A Tallahassee man is indicted for murder in the disappearance of Danielle Brown.

Despite the fact that Brown's body has never been found, a grand jury today gave the go-ahead for Elijah James to stand trial.

A stream of witnesses testified before a Leon County grand jury as the families of Elijah James and Danielle Brown sat side by side in silence in the hall.

James's cousin, who is pictured in surveillance photos with him the morning after Brown disappeared, was among those who testified.

"It takes a lot out of you just knowing this has taken place," Solomon Mills said. "I'm hoping that her family gets some closure somehow, someway, hoping that she eventually turns up."

After more than four hours of testimony, a grand jury comes back with an indictment that may be unprecedented in Tallahassee.

Elijah James indicted of first degree murder and robbery ... even though Danielle Brown's body has never been found.

"This is not unprecedented in Florida. I have not found a case in the second judicial circuit where we've proceeded with a homicide charge without a body," prosecutor Jack Campbell said.

"There's other evidence we're using to prove that in fact, Danielle Brown is deceased and that this defendant, Elijah James, is the person who murdered her," prosecutor Georgia Cappleman said.

"Now it's time to go to court and prove it. This is a tremendous case of multiple law enforcement agenies working together," Sheriff Larry Campbell said.

Danielle Brown's sister, Nicole Brown Sheffield, says the family is "so pleased" with the indictment and "looking forward to justice."

Brown's mother, Sonja Brown, says she is "hopeful" that James is going to be convicted, and hopes the murder charge - and the possibility of the death penalty that comes with it - will convince James to reveal the location of her daughter's body.

The judge issued a warrant for James's arrest. Prosecutors must now work with authorities in Thomasville to decide whether James will face arson charges there first or be brought to Tallahassee to stand trial for murder.

*** Udate 4:00 PM 8-18-2010 ****
The Leon County Sheriff's Office has released a statement about the James indictment.

In it, Sheriff Larry Campbell says, “Today this investigation moves into the prosecution phase. In over 48 years of law enforcement, I can’t recall a case when so many law enforcement leaders and agencies from many jurisdictions have worked so well together. I thank them all for their continued support and assistance.”

To read the whole press release, click on the document attached to this story.
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Updated 1:15pm 8-18

A grand jury has indicted Elijah James for robbery and first degree murder.

We will have more details as soon as they become available.
Tallahassee, FL - Danielle Brown is missing and presumed dead, but a grand jury is meeting to decide if there's enough evidence to indict her ex-boyfriend for her murder.
Brown disappeared February 5th and was last seen with ex-boyfriend Elijah James.
James is accused of arson in Georgia for torching and abandoning Brown's car, but Brown's body has never been found.
A grand jury is meeting right now in Tallahassee to decide if there is enough evidence to indict James for murder - even without a body.
WCTV will keep you posted on its decision.

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