Man gets life for murdering ex-girlfriend

James David Clarke convicted of murder

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Texas - A man was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison Friday for killing his ex-girlfriend.

James David Clarke, 32, was charged with murdering Amber Elkins, 20. She was last seen alive on July 24, 2011, and her body was found in a duffle bag in a wooded area off Gene Campbell Road on July 31, 2011. Elkins had been shot in the head.

It took jurors about 30 minutes to reach the verdict. Clarke showed little emotion when the verdict was read.

The jury quickly deliberated in the punishment phase and sentenced Clarke to life in prison.

Harris County sheriff's deputies said they found a significant amount of blood inside Elkins' vehicle, which was found several days before her body was discovered, and the front passenger window was broken. Defense attorneys claimed that there was no evidence tying Clarke to the SUV.

A witness testified during the trial that he gave Elkins money and tried to help her get a job. He testified that he was trying to help Elkins end an abusive relationship with Clarke.

The defense did not present any witnesses.

Elkins' family was in court during the trial.

"I was very, very nervous, but I wasn't scared because I knew he wouldn't get away with it. He's guilty and has no remorse whatsoever. It was like a weight lifted off my shoulder," said Shani Kilpatrick, Elkins' mother. "It's not closure, but I have a little peace now. My main focus now is Ava (Elkins' daughter) and what's best for Ava."

Elkins left behind a then 9-month-old daughter.

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