Joseph Elledge trial: Defense attorney says woman’s death a ‘tragic accident’

Missouri

Joseph Elledge walks into the Boone County Courtroom on Tuesday Nov. 2, 20121 with one of his attorneys Matei Stroescu on the first day of testimony of his trial in Boone County, Mo. Elledge is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his 28-year-old Chinese wife Mengqi Ji. Elledge. (Don Shrubshell/Columbia Daily Tribune via AP, Pool)

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — The attorney for a Missouri man accused of killing his Chinese wife says the woman’s death in 2019 was a tragic accident.

During opening statements Tuesday, defense attorney Scott Rosenblum said Joseph Elledge pushed his wife, Mengqi Ji, during an argument at their Columbia home, causing Ji to fall and hit her head. He says Ji went to bed and Elledge discovered she was dead the next day.

Rosenblum acknowledges that Elledge didn’t call 911 but instead put Ji’s body in his car.

Prosecuting Attorney Dan Knight says Elledge abused his wife during their marriage and on the night she died. Elledge is charged with first-degree murder in Ji’s death.

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