Judge: Student Was Strangled To Death

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CARROLL COUNTY, Ga.,None — The two people suspected of killing a University of West Georgia student appeared in court Friday afternoon, and the judge revealed startling details about the woman's death.

Magistrate Judge Al Johnson revealed in court Friday that Marcelle "Marci" Elliott, 21, had been strangled to death.

Farrah Strength, 29, along with Joshua Clay, 31, are accused of luring Elliott to her death last week.

Both were denied bond Friday.

Police said they think Strength and Clay killed her inside Strength's mother's Lovvorn Road home, and then dumped her body in some woods south of town.

SLIDESHOW: Murder Suspects Appear In Court

Documents indicating that Strength was involved in another murder investigation seven years ago have been discovered.

Channel 2 Action News reporter Richard Elliot uncovered Carroll County Sheriff's Office documents showing Strength's mother, Christine, was charged with murder in the death of her husband, Jerry, in 2003. Detectives said Christine Strength, armed with a pistol in both hands, gunned down her husband, Farrah's father, outside their Carroll County mobile home.

Investigators told Elliot that Farrah Strength was not home at the time of the shooting, but did provide them with statements saying she and her mother had been the victim of years of domestic abuse at the hands of Jerry Strength. She also claimed her father raped her.

christine strength IM Christine Strength

Deputies charged Christine Strength with murder, and the District Attorney's office presented the case to the grand jury, but the grand jury "no billed" it -- meaning that the grand jury believed there was insufficient evidence to indict.

Farrah Strength and Clay were arrested and charged with murder on Thursday. They are being held in the Carroll County Jail.

Police said Strength and Elliott were acquaintances.

Detectives confirmed that they discovered the Elliott's body in a wooded area off Laurel Road about 5 miles from where she was last seen on July 22.

"It's extremely sad," said Carrollton police Capt. Jamison Sailors. "It's always awful when a 21-year old girl loses her life. It's never an easy thing. I know it's not easy for the family."

Police said Elliott's father first made contact with Strength shortly after he reported his daughter missing. He found her number while searching through his daughter's cell phone account. At first, police said Strength was very helpful in talking with the father and with police.

"She was very cooperative," said Sailors. "She spoke with detectives. But then the evidence started mounting and she turned into a suspect."

Police would not give a motive for the killing.

"(Strength is) the type of person I would stay away from," said E.J. Critten, Strength's neighbor on Lovvern Road.

Critten said he watched early Thursday morning as police searched Strength's house and carted away boxes of evidence. He said he knew Strength pretty well, but kept his daughters away from her because she often acted and spoke strangely.

"She was a cool person until she told me she had seen a demon," said Critten. "She said a demon had talked to her when she was a little girl and had drove her to study demons."

WSB-TV Strength Family Handwritten Statement Strength family hand-written statement

Strength's mother did not want to speak on camera on Thursday, but provided Channel 2 with a handwritten statement. It read, "First, I would like to extend my deepest condolinses to the family. And with all sensirity, I know nothing about this incident, and have no further statement. I would appritiate if the media would leave my family alone in this difficult time."

Previous Stories: July 30, 2010: Couple Accused Of Killing Student Expected To Face Judge July 29, 2010: Body Of Missing West Georgia Student Found; 2 Arrested July 29, 2010: Search For Missing Student Includes Woods, Apartments July 28, 2010: College Student Vanishes; Police Begin Search