Columbia murder suspect Joseph Elledge says his wife died after they argued and fought after he discovered she was allegedly exchanging sexually-graphic messages with a man from China.
The 26-year-old Elledge is charged with first degree murder for the October 2019 death of Menggi Ji. Elledge testified on the witness stand for more than six hours on Tuesday, and says his wife pushed him after they argued, and that he pushed her back. He testifies his wife pushed him again and that she fell and hit her head and died that evening.
Elledge testifies that he did not intentionally kill his wife, but panicked.
He tells the jury that he put his wife’s body in the trunk of her vehicle, and drove to Rock Bridge state park the next day, where he used a shovel to bury her in a remote area. He says he feels shame for what happened.
Boone County Prosecutor Dan Knight was aggressive in questioning Elledge, saying Elledge told thousands of lies and that he had threatened to kill his wife before.
Prosecutor Knight grilled Elledge for a few hours on Tuesday. He also accused Elledge of describing his daughter as a “f’d up little runt,” which Elledge and defense attorney Scott Rosenblum disputed. Knight replayed an audio recording for the jury, and Elledge testified he was speaking hypothetically.
Knight told the jury that Elledge worked out all the time, and was twice as big as his wife. The prosecutor also says Elledge berated his wife for eating too much, after their child was born. Knight also accused Elledge of lying when he testified that Ji yelled at him at times.
Counselor Rosenblum describes Ji’s October 2019 death as a tragic accident, not a murder. Elledge is expected to return to the witness stand on Wednesday morning.