A Boone County jury deliberated for about seven hours on Thursday, before convicting Joseph Elledge of second degree murder for the 2019 death of his wife, Menggi Ji.
Elledge looked straight down at the table, after the verdict was read in court Tuesday night. His mother was sitting in the courtroom, and appeared to be crying after the verdict was read. A family member consoled her.
Boone County Prosecutor Dan Knight wanted a first degree murder conviction. The jury was in session until 1:30 am, and is recommending a 28-year sentence for Elledge. He will be eligible for parole after serving 85 percent of whatever sentence he receives.
Closing arguments were intense and emotional on Thursday, with Knight saying that Elledge deserves no mercy. Knight says Elledge tortured Ji. Defense attorney Scott Rosenblum says Knight had no real evidence, and accuses the prosecutor of making mischaracterizations in court.
Knight describes Elledge as a “bully and killer.” Rosenblum told jurors that Knight was gaslighting, and that this was never a murder case. He says it was a tragic accident.
A sentencing date hasn’t been set yet. Missouri’s Probation and Parole Board will have to complete a sentencing assessment report (SAR).