Attorney for man who allegedly killed wife, friend speaks out

Amanda Colley, Lindy Dobbins were allegedly killed by James Colley

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – Kyle Bedran is a family law attorney who represented James Colley Jr. in a pre-trial, violation of injunction hearing filed by his ex-wife just hours before police said he drove to his St. Johns County home and shot and killed her and her best friend.

Bedran said this is the worst nightmare in his field, that a spouse could snap and then leave the courtroom to go after their significant other, especially after making assurances to the judge that Colley would follow the terms of his probation and stay away from his wife. 

According to police, Colley, 35, was accused of bursting into his wife's home and shooting her and one of her friends. Amanda Cloaninger Colley, 36, and Lindy Dobbins, 39, died at the scene.

Amanda Colley on left, Lindy Dobbins on right
Amanda Colley on left, Lindy Dobbins on right

St. Johns County Sheriff David Shoar said four or five people were visiting with Amanda Colley at the house. All but Amanda and Dobbins were able to get away without injury.

Colley was arrested Thursday night after a traffic stop by the City of Norton Police Department in Virginia.

The original manhunt for Colley in St. Johns County prompted the lockdown Thursday of three schools in the area. The lockdowns were lifted before 4 p.m. and all three schools allowed students to be released.

Bedran said that James Colley Jr. didn't show any sign that he may be violent let alone would go and kill the two mothers.


"He was very nervous. That's common though. When we're facing any kind of misdemeanor or felony when there's a chance for jail time, someone's going to be nervous," Bedran said.

During the proceeding, the Judge expressed concern that Colley would be on unsupervised probation, and Bedran assured the judge that he would be responsible for Colley completing the terms of his probation.


"We chose to do unsupervised probation instead of supervised probation, and to clarify, supervised probation does not mean that he's going to have someone with him 24/7, or that he's going to have a GPS monitor. Supervised just means he meets with a probation officer once a month. Something like that would not have prevented a tragedy of this sort," Bedran said.

Bedran said he only offered to make sure Colley finished his probation and nothing else. Despite that, Bedran said he has received some criticism.

"That's not an area where I would ever interject myself. That's not my place," Bedran said.

Judge Charles Tinlin also expressed dismay during the proceedings about whether the state attorney's office could monitor Colley saying there had been a lot of turnover in the state attorney's office.

In response the state attorney's sent a statement saying: "We're reviewing everything associated with this case but because it's a pending case we can't comment at this time."

Mourners gather to remember slain mothers

A huge crowd gathered for the women at the community recreation center of the family's subdivision, off of South Bellagio Drive, that isn't accustomed to violence of this sort.

According to mourners, sadness and shock permeated the crowd, still grieving over the deaths of the two women.

"We're distraught. Umm…we still can't believe it," Lori Klucharich, a friend, said.

Dobbin's husband and children gathered and hugged, along with relatives of both women, mourning the loss that drew hundreds of people to the neighborhood.

"This community does come together in tragedy and this was definitely a tragedy that nobody every expected. We are close as family here," friend Sharon Shack said.

Father Guy Noonan led the vigil, he knew Dobbins and said the experience has been hard on everyone.

"Lindy was a catechist in our parish for three or four years and worked with our kids. She was in the second-grade class and those kids are going to be grieving too, because they're going to be missing a woman they didn't expect to die so young," Noonan said.

Mourners sent balloons into the sky as candles remained on the ground as the huge crowd remembered the loss of two close friends and mothers.

"This hit the community like nothing, I don't think anyone could ever expect," Shack said.

"They were so beautiful and just loved everybody. Both of them were the life of the party, lit up a room. So good to all their friends," Klucharich said.

With their father in jail and their mother dead a lot of concern also surrounds the Colley children who now have to deal with the loss of both of their parents.

Rusty Veon was the children's bus driver for years and knew the kids well, describing them as wonderful, helpful children.

"They were in school yesterday morning. I picked them up. They were excellent. They helped me every year that I've had them," Veon said.

As for who will be taking care of the children now, relatives are stepping in to help.

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