James Colley Jr. now on death row

Colley sentenced to death in murders of his estranged wife, her friend

By Frank Powers - Assignment manager, Francine Frazier - Senior web producer

Florida Department of Corrections photo of James Colley Jr.

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. - A man who gunned down his estranged wife and her best friend in the couple's upscale St. Johns County home in 2015 was sent to death row at the Florida State Prison in Raiford on Monday, according to the Florida Department of Corrections. 

James Colley Jr., 38, was sentenced to death for the murders of his estranged wife, 36-year-old Amanda Colley, and her best friend, 39-year-old Lindy Dobbins, when he went on a shooting spree inside the couple’s home on Aug. 27, 2015.

A jury unanimously recommended the death penalty for Colley in July, and Circuit Judge Howard Maltz followed that recommendation Friday, saying Colley's conduct deserved the "harshest penalty" allowed by Florida law.

In addition to two counts of first-degree murder, Colley was convicted of two counts of attempted first-degree murder, two burglary counts and a count of aggravated stalking. Maltz tacked on life in prison sentences for the attempted murder charges.

Speaking in measured words Friday, Maltz scoffed at Colley's claim that the murders were an accident, saying Colley “executed” the two women “in the prime of their lives” and “devastated” their families.

Colley’s attorney told News4Jax he plans to appeal for a new trial. Colley's conviction and sentence will be automatically appealed to the Florida Supreme Court.

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