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Lawyers for Joseph Elledge request new trial


Lawyers for a Columbia man convicted last month of killing his wife have asked a judge to grant him a new trial.

Lawyers for Joseph Elledge filed the motion Friday in Boone County.

A jury convicted Elledge of second-degree murder Nov. 11 in the death of his wife, Mengqi Ji. The jury recommended a 28-year prison sentence. A sentencing hearing for him is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Dec. 17.

Mengqi Ji and Joseph Elledge

Elledge's legal team made seven arguments for a new trial, including alleged violations of his constitutional rights.

According to court documents, lawyers for Elledge believe the court shouldn't have allowed for the use of nine hours of audio recordings between Elledge and Ji to be used as evidence at the trial. His legal team also argues the state shouldn't have been allowed to use an expert witness for soil analysis.

Police arrested Elledge after he reported Ji missing in October 2019. Investigators spent several months searching parts of the Lamine River near Boonville for Ji.

A hiker later found her remains buried in a grave at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park south of Columbia in March.

The Boone County Prosecuting Attorney's Office has also charged Elledge with child abuse, endangering the welfare of a child and third-degree domestic assault in a different case.

Elledge is scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 10 in that case.

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Zachary Farwell

Zachary Farwell is the senior producer at ABC 17 News.


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