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Judge sets $10M cash-only bond for Aurora dentist accused of poisoning, killing his wife

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Posted at 10:49 AM, Jun 28, 2023

UPDATE | July 12 — In a court hearing on July 12, the cause of Angela Craig's death was announced. The coroner found that the manner of her death was homicide and the cause was acute cyanide and tetrahydrozoline poisoning. Other contributing factors were subacute arsenic poisoning.

In addition, James Craig has been charged with a second count: solicitation to commit tampering with physical evidence, which is a Class 6 felony.

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AURORA, Colo. — A judge set a $10 million cash-only bond on Wednesday morning for an Aurora dentist accused of poisoning and killing his wife in March.

James Toliver Craig, 45, was arrested early on March 19 on a charge of first-degree murder after deliberation in connection with the death of his 43-year-old wife Angela Craig, who died in a hospital the day prior.

Judge sets $10M cash-only bond for Aurora dentist accused of poisoning, killing his wife

He practiced dentistry at Summerbrook Dental Group, which is located at 14991 E. Hampden Avenue in Aurora. His bio page from the dental group website states that he has six children with his wife. His dental license was suspended by the state in March.

A 52-page arrest affidavit detailed how Angela Craig became sick multiple times in early and mid-March and was hospitalized, but doctors could not determine what was causing her symptoms. During one of the visits, a person alerted a nurse that he believed she had been poisoned, possibly by James Craig, according to the affidavit.

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Aurora

Affidavit: Aurora dentist purchased cyanide, arsenic before wife's death

Stephanie Butzer
5:04 PM, Mar 20, 2023

Around 12:30 a.m. on March 16, a detective learned about the decline of Angela Craig’s health. As of that time, she was still on life support with no brain activity. She was pronounced brain dead on March 18 at 4:29 p.m., according to the affidavit.

During a search warrant at the dentist office, police seized computers and they found from a single device that a user had searched many poison-related inquiries, including “How many grams of pure arsenic will kill a human” and “Is arsenic detectable in autopsy?” and also searched for chemical suppliers in Aurora. A user had also searched for YouTube videos about making poison, including one titled “Top 5 Undetectable Poisons That Show No Sign of Foul Play." They also found communications, including travel plans, with a woman that was “intimate in nature and contained sexually explicit conversations,” according to the affidavit.

Affidavit: Aurora dentist researched 'undetectable poisons,' purchased arsenic and cyanide before wife's death

According to the affidavit, James Craig made multiple orders for arsenic and cyanide.

Through the investigation, police noticed many similarities between Angela Craig's symptoms and the effects of ingesting cyanide and arsenic, as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A person told authorities they knew James Craig made protein shakes for his wife when they exercised and that she had felt faint and dizzy after drinking them. The protein powder and shakers were seized in a search warrant. Police said in the affidavit that they believe the poison was in those shakes.

James Craig was formally charged with first-degree murder on March 23.

He was in the Arapahoe County courtroom on Wednesday morning for a bond hearing.

The defense said James Craig is a man of "limited means" and would comply with any monitoring the court deemed necessary. They argued against a high bond, citing the recent Colorado Supreme Court ruling in State vs. Smith, which says a person charged with first-degree murder cannot be held without bond. They said $10 million is not an affordable alternative.

The defense added that they hoped the court would be open to a reduction of bond after the preliminary hearing, which is scheduled for July 12.

In response, the prosecution brought up evidence from the affidavit, including James Craig's internet searches about ordering and using arsenic and cyanide. They claimed he had lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency and was trying to recover. He also had several life insurance policies for his wife, they said. They added that the young Craig children are in the custody of a family member in Idaho and that James Craig's relatives have "significant wealth" and some still support the defendant.

They asked for a high bond — $10 million cash-only — to prevent him from absconding, noting that he was not trustworthy

The defense argued again that that amount was "unreasonable" and "excessive."

The guardian for the minor Craig children also spoke in court, saying he agreed with the people's recommendation for a $10 million bond.

Judge Shay Whitaker explained the conditions for setting bond, such as the chance a defendant will flee and if there is a risk to the community. She said the court had "significant concerns" with the facts of this case. She also recognized that James Craig may commit an additional violation.

Ultimately, she set his bond for $10 million cash-only and ordered him to surrender his passport and participate in daily check-ins. She also ordered him to wear a GPS tracker.

Judge Whitaker also ruled to keep some documents suppressed until the preliminary hearing on July 12.

The family of Angela Craig has GoFundMe set up to support her children and show love for Angela.


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