Recordings to be heard at trial in Chinese woman’s death

Posted at 11:53 AM, August 5, 2021 and last updated 3:00 PM, July 24, 2023

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Audio recordings of arguments between a Missouri man and his Chinese wife will be allowed during the man’s upcoming trial in her death, a judge has ruled.

Circuit Judge Brouck Jacobs ruled Tuesday the recordings are “relevant and otherwise admissible” in the case against Joseph Elledge, of Columbia, who is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his wife, Mengqi Ji.

This undated photo provided by Boone County Sheriff’s Department in Columbia, Mo., shows Joseph Elledge. (Boone County Sheriff’s Department)

Ji was reported missing in October 2019, prompting extensive searches that concluded when her body was found in March of this year at a park near Columbia.

Boone County Prosecuting Attorney had argued the recordings are key evidence that would show Elledge’s motive for the killing, context for the crime and his consciousness of guilt, The Columbia Missourian reported.

Elledge’s defense attorneys argued the tapes were hearsay and should not be admitted during the trial.

Ji secretly recorded two of the tapes and Elledge recorded 10 others, for a total of 13 hours of recordings.

Elledge’s murder trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 1. He has pleaded not guilty to the murder charge and to related charges of child endangerment involving the couple’s young child and domestic abuse.