DA: Accused killer asked inmate to plant evidence for dental work

Posted at 3:15 PM, May 2, 2024

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. (Scripps News Denver) — An Aurora dentist accused of killing his wife by poisoning her protein shakes allegedly asked a fellow inmate to plant evidence in exchange for free dental work.

James Toliver Craig booking photo.

James Toliver Craig was charged with first-degree murder for the death of his wife. (Aurora Police Department)

Angela Craig, 43, died on March 18, 2023, from lethal doses of cyanide and tetrahydrozoline, a decongestant found in over-the-counter eyedrops. She suffered through several bouts of sickness where doctors could not determine the cause. Her husband, James Craig, was arrested early on March 19, 2023, on a charge of first-degree murder after deliberation in connection with her death.

James Craig practiced dentistry at Summerbrook Dental Group. He was formally charged with first-degree murder on March 23 and in mid-July, a charge of solicitation to commit tampering with physical evidence was added.

Craig pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and tampering with physical evidence in October 2023. His trial is scheduled for August 8.

The 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office filed a motion on April 10 to add a third count against Craig — an additional solicitation to tamper with physical evidence charge. Craig appeared in court Wednesday to discuss that third charge.

The sole witness called was Aurora Police Detective Bobbi Olson, the lead detective on the case. Olson testified that she spoke with an inmate who was incarcerated alongside Craig.

According to the detective, Craig told the other inmate about the charges he faces and asked the inmate to place letters in his garage and truck at his home. Olson testified that the letters were written from inside the jail and were meant to appear as if Angela had written them.

According to Olson, the letters were supposed to convey that Angela was not happy with life, was suicidal and had learned about her husband’s affair. The intent was for law enforcement or defense attorneys to find the letters, Olson testified.

The inmate was allegedly under the impression that Craig wrote the letters. According to the detective, in exchange for placing the letters, Craig offered the inmate free dental work or money for bond. The inmate did not take Craig up on the offer, Olson said, and instead contacted law enforcement.

Defense attorneys argued that the inmate is not a credible witness.

Andrew Ho went through a line of questioning, showing the inmate did not accurately identify the color of Craig’s truck and was given a deferred judgment and sentence from the district attorney’s office. Ho also pointed out that the inmate only contacted authorities after Craig’s initial preliminary hearing when there was ample media coverage surrounding the case.

Craig’s defense argued the inmate is unreliable evidence and violates Craig’s due process rights. However, the judge ruled the prosecution established probable cause and met their burden of proof.

According to a spokesperson with the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, the three charges don’t need to be tried together, but it will likely happen. The next court appearance for Craig is set for June 5.

This story was originally published by Scripps News Denver, an E.W. Scripps Company.