Murder Case Headed to Trial Without a Body

UPDATED 1.8.2013 by Julie Montanaro

It will be the first murder case ever tried in Leon County without a body.

Elijah James is set to stand trial at the end of this month (January 28) for the murder of his girlfriend Danielle Brown. She disappeared in February 2010.

Proseuctors told the judge today that they intend to call as many as 50 witnesses to testify.

Attorneys on both sides said given all the publicity this case has generated they expect jury selection to take at least two days.

We'll be in court when the trial begins.

The state is seeking the death penalty against Elijah James.


May 8, 2012 - Noon - by Julie Montanaro

A man accused of killing his girlfriend and dumping her body will stand trial for it this fall.

This is the only murder in Leon County ever to be tried without a body.

Elijah James is accused of killing his on-again off-again girlfriend Danielle Brown back if February 2010.

Her car was found burned and abandoned at a city dump in Pavo, GA a few days after she disappeared. Brown's body has never been found.

Today, the judge set a trial date of October 22nd and he set aside two weeks for the trial.

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May 8, 2012 10:10am by Julie Montanaro

Elijah James is in court this morning as attorneys struggle to set a trial date.

James is accused of killing his girlfriend, Danielle Brown, back in February 2010.

Her body has never been found.

The judge set James' trial for October 22, 2012. He set aside two weeks for the trial.

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UPDATED 9.30.2011 by Julie Montanaro

A Tallahassee man accused of killing his girlfriend, hiding her body and torching her car will stand trial for it in the spring of 2012.

Elijah James is accused of killing Danielle Brown. She disappeared in February 2010, but her body has never been found.

James is already serving a 20 year sentence for arson in Georgia for setting Brown's car on fire and abandoning it at a city dump in Pavo.

This morning, a judge set a date for his murder trial of May 7, 2012.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against James.

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UPDATED 6.14.2011 by Julie Montanaro

A man imprisoned for arson in Georgia and awaiting trial for murder in Florida is demanding a new trial in the peach state.

Elijah James is accused in the disappearance and murder of Danielle Brown.

He has already been convicted of arson for torching her car and abandoning it at a city dump in Pavo, Georgia. He's serving a 20 year prison sentence for that.

James's attorney filed a motion for a new trial in Thomas County's Superior Court back in February. He claims the verdict and sentence are not supported by the evidence.

A hearing on the request for a new trial was set for this week, but it has been postponed. A new date has not yet been set.

Meanwhile, James is awaiting trial on murder charges in Leon County, Florida. His next court date on those charges is scheduled for September 30th.

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[UPDATE] 3-30 10am -

At a status hearing for Elijah James this morning, a case management hearing was scheduled for October 26.

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UPDATED 2.22.2011 by Julie Montanaro

The man accused of killing Danielle Brown is now facing the death penalty for it.

Elijah James was brought back to Florida to face murder charges yesterday and today the state filed its notice to seek the death penalty against him.

Brown disappeared more than a year ago. Her body has never been found, but James was indicted for her murder and has already been found guilty of arson in Georgia for setting fire to her car.

The state says while it is unusual to try a murder case without a body, every case has its challenges.

"This office will continue to prosecute cases not because they're easy, but because they're important and we believe that there's sufficient evidence. I'm comfortable that the evidence will be able to support a conviction in this case," said prosecutor Jack Campbell.

James made his first court appearance in Leon County this morning. He was denied bond and appointed a public defender.

"We feel the arson trial in Georgia paved the way for what is to come in Florida as we expect much of the same result. We look forward to obtaining justice for Danielle," said family spokesperson Nicole Brown Sheffield.

Sheffield says the family fully supports the state's decision to seek the death penaltyn against James.

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[UPDATE] 2-22 1:25pm -- by Julie Montanaro

The state has filed a notice that it will seek the death penalty in the Elijah James murder case. The notice was filed today, Feb. 22.

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[UPDATE] 2-22 11am --

The man accused in the disappearance of Danielle Brown is back in Tallahassee to face murder charges.

Elijah James was booked into the Leon County Jail (2-21) around 3pm yesterday afternoon.

James was extradited from Thomas County where he was convicted of arson earlier this month for torching Danielle Brown's car.
Brown disappeared on February 5th last year. Though James faces charges for her murder, Brown's body had never been found.

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February 17, 2011 7:05pm by Julie Montanaro

A man accused in the disappearance of Danielle Brown will soon be coming back to Tallahassee to face murder charges.

Elijah James signed a waiver of extradition Thursday afternoon, confirmed Thomas County Sheriff's Office CAPT Steve Jones.

That paves the way for deputies to pick him up from the Thomas County Jail, bring him back across the state line and book him into the Leon County Jail.

James was convicted of arson in Georgia earlier this month for torching Brown's car. Now he'll await trial on murder charges in Tallahassee.

Danielle Brown disappeared back on February 5, 2010. James was indicted for her murder, but her body has never been found.

An LCSO spokesman says James could be transported back to Leon County as early as tomorrow.


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