Survivors recount deadly rampage for jury in double murder trial

James Colley charged with shooting wife, her friend in St. Johns County in 2015

By Elizabeth Campbell - Reporter, Francine Frazier - Senior web producer, Tarik Minor - Anchor, I-TEAM reporter

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - A woman who survived a deadly rampage in 2015 recounted the harrowing details Thursday as she testified in the trial for the man accused of gunning down her two friends.

Rachel Hendricks had to take a steadying breath when she was asked to point out James Colley Jr. in a St. Johns County courtroom that was crowded with those who knew and loved the two slain women.

Colley, 38, is charged with killing Hendricks' friends -- Colley's estranged wife, Amanda Colley, and her best friend, Lindy Dobbins -- at the Colleys' Murabella home in August 2015.

Hendricks testified that on Aug. 27, 2015, Colley showed up uninvited at the home, looking for a man he believed was in a relationship with Amanda Colley, 36.

James Colley Jr. speaks to his lawyer during a break in the trial Thursday morning.

Hendricks said she was in the home when James Colley, who had been ordered by a judge earlier that morning not to have contact with his wife, appeared in the backyard of the home carrying a gun and opened fire.

She described running and hiding with Dobbins, 39, in a walk-in closet in the bathroom and bracing the door to keep James Colley out.

Hendricks said she could hear him screaming at Amanda Colley, who was in the bathroom, asking, “Where is he? Where is he?” and cursing at her.

She said she heard a gunshot, then never heard Amanda Colley's voice again.

Hendricks said a shot fired through the closet door grazed her arm and felt “like a rug burn.”

Prosecutors showed an image of a bullet hole in the closet door.

Hendricks said after the shot, she fell back and James Colley forced his way inside, heading past her and straight to Dobbins, who was crouching behind a dresser.

She said Colley put the handgun he was carrying up to Dobbins' head, and that's when Hendricks ran out of the closet and through the front door, looking for help. She heard a shot as she fled.

Hendricks broke down crying on the stand as prosecutors played the 911 call she made from a neighbor's house after running from the shooting. In the call, she repeatedly said she was scared for her life.

Assistant State Attorney Jennifer Lynne Dunton said Colley was looking for Lamar Douberly at the home that day after leaving threatening messages for his estranged wife.

"Call me or I'm going to come find you," Dunton quoted, along with several expletive-laced rants.

According to prosecutors, sometime before the murders, Colley became enraged when he was sent a photo showing Douberly mowing Amanda Colley's lawn without a shirt on. Prosecutors said a neighbor, who was identified as Mike Dickens, took the photo and sent it to Colley's sister, who then texted it to her brother.

Douberly also testified Thursday about his relationship with Amanda Colley, the shooting rampage and the events that led up to the shooting.

Douberly said when the shooting started and he heard James Colley yelling, "Where is he?" he realized he might be the target and fled. He said he ran into the garage, rolled under the garage door and ran from the home. He wasn't hurt and found someone a few streets away to call 911.

Dunton said Amanda Colley heard Dobbins being shot in the closet before James Colley found her, wounded on the bathroom floor, and shot her multiple times as she begged for her life.

The state told the jury that the murders were premeditated because Colley broke in around 4 a.m. that morning and ransacked the home, then returned hours later and killed Amanda Colley and Dobbins.

Colley's attorney, Terry Shoemaker, said it’s not a question of whether or not Colley is guilty, but what would lead him to do this. Shoemaker said Colley was heavily medicated for depression, anxiety and other medical issues, and because of that, he wasn’t himself.

“The question isn’t who did that. The question is why did it happen? How could this happen? How could a person who loved his family more than anything in his life do that?" Shoemaker said.

Shooting rampage

Amanda Colley and Lindy Dobbins

James Colley is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted first-degree murder, two burglary counts and a count of aggravated stalking.

Before Amanda Colley was killed, she had taken out a restraining order against James Colley, but authorities said James Colley ignored the order and burned his wife's clothes in the yard, among other violations.

At a court hearing Aug. 27, 2015, a judge told Colley to stay away from his wife and handed down a 60-day suspended sentence on the restraining order violation charge.

But immediately following the hearing, Colley went to his father’s home to get a gun and then drove to the couple’s home, opening fire on Amanda Colley and her friends, according to prosecutors.

The sudden violence at the upscale home near World Golf Village spawned a massive manhunt that included a nationwide alert to be on the lookout for James Colley.

He was arrested following a traffic stop in Norton, Virginia, after another driver reported nearly being run off the road. He was later extradited to Florida.

Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty if Colley is convicted.

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