AP NEWS

Mistrial in sentencing hearing results in life sentence

April 4, 2019

BURGAW, N.C. (AP) — A mistrial has been declared in the sentencing hearing for a North Carolina man found guilty of first-degree murder, meaning he will spend the rest of his life in prison.

News outlets report a Pender County jury convicted 56-year-old James Bradley last week in the 2013 slaying of Elisha Tucker, whose body was found bound in duct tape and wrapped in trash bags in a shallow grave. But the jury deadlocked on Thursday despite deliberating over two days on Bradley’s sentence, meaning a life sentence was automatic.

Bradley had already been found guilty of second-degree murder in the presumed death of Shannon Rippy Van Newkirk, whose body has never been found after she disappeared five years ago. Authorities found Tucker’s body while they were searching for Van Newkirk.