Joseph Elledge trial continues Wednesday: six hours of secret audio recordings
COLUMBIA, Missouri (KMIZ)
Joseph Elledge’s trial continued on Wednesday, as the prosecution released six hours of secret audio recordings made by Elledge.
The prosecution hopes the recordings will support its argument that Elledge has long resented Mengqi Ji. Elledge made 10 secret audio recordings and Ji made two. The prosecution says Elledge would abuse Ji through audio recordings for about a year until he killed her.
Recordings released on Wednesday show Elege’s hatred and annoyance towards Ji’s mother.
“I’m not cool with your mom, I look at her like she’s a criminal, I look at her like a hawk,” Elledge said.
Elledge made several remarks in the recordings that Ji never listened to or respected.
The state ended the third day of the trial by starting the first part of a lengthy interview Elledge conducted with police detectives on October 15, 2019. Detectives Alan Mitchell and John Voss spoke with him for five days. after he first reported Ji’s disappearance. The game played in court showed Elledge telling Mitchell in an interview room what had happened before he reported Ji’s disappearance. Elledge first said she left their apartment in eastern Columbia one night and never returned.
In Tuesday’s opening statements, defense attorney Scott Rosenblum claimed that Ji’s death was a quote, “a tragic accident.” Rosenblum said Elledge pushed Ji, who landed on his head.
Attorney General Dan Knight has pleaded his case to first degree murder. Knight said Elledge abused Ji before killing her.
“Even in the presence of his mother, the accused stated that he… felt like slapping Mengqi and physically beating her,” Knight said.
The tapes, dating from late 2018, showed the couple arguing over family and marital issues, including Elledge telling Ji he felt disrespectful of her when his mother stayed at their home in eastern Colombia.
Ji was reported missing in October 2019 by Elledge.
Investigators focused their efforts to find Ji on parts of the Lamine River in Cooper County for months. His remains were discovered by a hiker at Rock Bridge State Park in March.
Elledge was arrested in October 2019 after investigators charged him with abusing the couple’s child. A grand jury then indicted Elledge with a charge of first degree murder in February 2020.