State seeks death penalty for men accused of killing 92-year-old woman

Deputies: Men stole money for drugs from her before burying her body

Rubye James
Rubye James

LEESBURG, Fla. – State prosecutors filed a motion Tuesday seeking the death penalty for the men charged in connection with the February murder of a 92-year-old Leesburg woman.

Krystopher Laws, 21, and Joshua McClellan, 20, are charged with first-degree murder and home invasion robbery in the killing of  Rubye James. Investigators said that the two men killed James over money they wanted to use to buy drugs.

James' body was found buried in a wooded area behind McClellan's house, deputies said.

An autopsy revealed that James' cause of death was "multiple sharp and blunt force injuries," according to the affidavit.

The Lake County Sheriff's Office said that Laws admitted that he and McClellan had walked to James' house to get money for drugs, and that once she opened the front door, the men walked in and struck James in the head, which caused her to fall to the ground, and stabbed her multiple times, according to the affidavit.

McClellan has continuously denied his role in James' killing, saying during his arrest last month, “I was the only one that was ever really there for her.”

Assistant State's Attorney Hugh Dean Bass Jr. called the murder “cold, calculated and premeditated” in the affidavit. He added, that ”the victim of the capital felony was particularly vulnerable due to advanced age or disability.”

The state is seeking the death penalty because the murder was committed during a robbery. Trial is expected to begin this summer.