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Eldreth pleads not guilty in child sex case

Originally published: Mar. 12, 2013
Last modified: Mar. 14, 2013

Jesse Campbell

A trial judge denied a bond reduction Tuesday morning in the case of a West Jefferson man accused of statutory rape and other sex offense charges. 

James Colton Ray Eldreth, 22, of West Jefferson, was arrested initially on Jan. 5, but was later released on a $100,000 bond. 

He was then arrested again on Jan. 9 and charged with five additional counts of statutory sexual offense and placed on an $300,000 secured bond. 

Eldreth formally pleaded not guilty to the charges on Tuesday during Ashe County Superior Court.  

Eldreth’s attorney said the bond was excessive considering his case is only comprised of two B1 felonies at this time. 

The prosecution, led by Kisa Posey, said investigators are “working on a timeline” in Eldreth’s case to “approximate a timeline” of when offenses were alleged to have occurred. 

Prosecutors also cited Eldreth’s safety as a reason to maintain the current bond. 

When Eldreth was initially arrested, officers said he came out of his residence wielding a shotgun and indicated he wanted to be shot, according to testimony. 

Prior to his arrest, Eldreth wrote a letter to his father that “sounded suicidal,” said Posey.

Eldreth’s case has been continued until the July session of Superior Court.


Headline on story about a man charged with statutory rape incorrectly states plea

The headline to the print version of this story published March 14 in Ashe Mountain Times incorrectly states the plea of a man, James Colton Ray Eldreth, 22, of West Jefferson, charged with statutory rape and other sex offense charges. As the story reports, Eldreth pleaded not guilty to the charges during Ashe County Superior Court on Tuesday.

For more information and stories, see Ashe Mountain Times.