James Cockerham

James Cockerham appears view video feed for his arraignment. (Photo: Jon Hewett/WWJ)

Man Ordered Held Without Bond, Charged With Murder Of Woman Found In Dumpster

May 20, 2019 - 3:28 pm

DETROIT (WWJ) - A 50-year-old man has been ordered held without bond, accused of murdering a woman found dead in a dumpster in Detroit. 

Described by Detroit police as a "career criminal," James Quill Cockerham said very little as he appeared via video for an arraignment in 36th District  Court Monday on charges of first degree premeditated murder, torture and unlawful imprisonment.

During his brief court appearance, a not guilty plea was entered on Cockerham's behalf, and Magistrate Dawn White ordered that he be remanded into custody in the Wayne County Jail. 

Elizabeth Candice-Nicole Laird, 27, was reported missing the night of May 14, according to prosecutors, just hours before her remains were found in a dumpster outside the Parkview Apartments, where she lived, in the 1600 block of Robert Bradby Dr., in the area of Lafayette and St. Aubin.

After police released video of the suspect, who had been seen in an elevator with Laird, police received tips from the public and Cockerham was identified. 

He was then found and arrested Saturday afternoon in the 8000 block of Stoepel in Detroit.

“The evidence in this case shows that Ms. Laird was literally thrown away like garbage. Her life mattered, and we will work tirelessly to make sure that her alleged killer is brought to justice," Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said, in a statement. 

Michigan Department of Corrections records show Cockerham has convictions for armed robbery, auto theft, criminal sexual conduction and other charges dating back to the late 1980s. 

He will be back in court for a probable cause conference on May 31, followed by a preliminary exam on June 7.