St. Augustine double murder suspect in custody | Crime

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St. Augustine double murder suspect in custody
St. Augustine double murder suspect in custody

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Hours before his wife and a family friend were shot to death inside a South Bellagio Drive home Thursday, a St. Augustine man suspected in their killing had been in court pleading no contest to violating an injunction for protection against domestic violence ordered by a judge last month, court records show.

Earlier in the day, a judge ordered James Terry Colley, Jr., 35, of St. Augustine, received a year of unsupervised probation as part of his plea agreement, which ordered him to surrender his weapons, complete a batterers' intervention class and have no contact with his estranged wife, Amanda Cloaninger, according to court papers obtained by First Coast News.

"He could have been locked up, and he was allowed to go on probation and surrender his weapons and stay away from his wife," St. Johns County Sheriff David Shoar told reporters at a news conference.

Colley was taken into custody following a traffic stop outside St. Johns County, the Sheriff's Office announced late Thursday.

The Sheriff's Office launched a manhunt for Colley, who's considered "armed and dangerous," after he allegedly opened fire inside his Cloaninger's home about 11 a.m. Thursday, killing her and a friend, Lindy Dobbins, 39, Shoar said. Authorities locked down three nearby schools – Mill Creek and Ward Creek elementary schools and Pacetti Bay Middle – including one where the couple's child attends.

Judge Howard McGillin issued a judgment Aug. 10 after Cloaninger filed for an injunction July 13, barring Colley from having contact with Cloaninger, going within 500 feet of her home and going near her work and vehicle. It ordered him to surrender his firearms and ammunition and complete a batterers' intervention course.

A subsequent motion filed by Cloaninger asked for Colley to continue sharing custody of the couple's children with meetings being mediated by Ronda Colley, Cloaninger's sister-in-law.

Colley filed for divorce last month, according to court records. A hearing on that had been set for Sept. 16.

Colley had enrolled in a batterers' intervention course through Hubbard House, a nonprofit domestic violence shelter, according to an e-mail he sent to the St. Johns County Clerk of Court Aug. 21. He had also filed paperwork this month with the Clerk's Office suggesting that he no longer possessed any firearms or ammunition, according to court records.

Cloaninger filed for an injunction July 20 suggesting that she was a victim of domestic violence or in imminent danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence, according to court papers. The same court papers alleged that Colley had threatened Cloaninger with violence, burned her clothes in the backyard, accused her of cheating, and stolen her medication.

The petition also accused Colley of throwing a purse at Cloaninger at one point and sending her a text saying "he had driven through a parking lot of her work looking for her."


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