Bradley is serving a life sentence for one killing, and faces the death penalty for another.

WILMINGTON -- The capital murder trial of two-time convicted killer James Opelton Bradley in the slaying of a Wilmington woman whose body was discovered eight months after she went missing  is set for early next year.

Bradley, 55, is currently serving a life sentence in the presumed death of his co-worker Shannon Rippy Van Newkirk. Despite the fact that Van Newkirk’s body was never recovered, a New Hanover County jury found Bradly guilty of her killing in June.

In the hunt for Van Newkirk, Elisha Marie Tucker’s body was found wrapped in duct tape and garbage bags and buried in a shallow grave in a Pender County field where Bradley and Van Newkirk worked.

According to prosecutors, Bradley and Tucker lived within blocks of each other on Dawson Street when she disappeared in August 2013 – five months after the former U.S. Army sergeant was released from prison after serving 23 years in the Fayetteville killing of his 8-year-old stepdaughter Ivy Gipson.

During the Van Newkirk investigation a woman came forward and told police she met Bradley while he was with Tucker and he introduced Tucker, 34, as his girlfriend. Bradley has denied knowing Tucker.

A tentative trial date is set for Jan. 14, 2019, in Tucker’s killing.

Reporter F.T. Norton can be reached at 910-343-2070 or