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Man accused of killing wife, friend could still face death penalty

James Colley Jr.
James Colley Jr.

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – The man deputies said shot and killed his wife and her friend last summer in St. Johns County had his efforts to block the death penalty in his case denied Tuesday by a judge.

James Colley Jr. was arrested in Virginia last August, days after deputies said he shot and killed his estranged wife, Amanda Colley and her friend, Lindy Dobbins, at his wife’s St. Johns County home.

Amanda Colley had filed for a domestic violence injunction the month before, which Colley violated.

He had a hearing on the violation just before deputies said he shot and killed the women.

A judge denied a motion by James Colley's lawyer to block the State Attorney's Office from seeking the death penalty if Colley is convicted on the murder charges. The lawyer filed the motion after the U.S. Supreme Court's Hurst ruling, which found Florida's death penalty process unconstitutional.

The state Legislature enacted reforms to address the problems with the law, and the judge cited those reforms in denying Colley's motion.