1 of 2 charged in the death of Cassidy Rainwater in the summer of 2021 enters plea

Published: Apr. 28, 2023 at 12:28 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 28, 2023 at 6:13 PM CDT
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BUFFALO, Mo. (KY3) - One of two men accused of kidnapping and killing Cassidy Rainwater in Dallas County entered an Alford plea for first-degree murder.

James Phelps faced first-degree murder charges in Rainwater’s death in the summer of 2021. The Alford plea admits Phelps believes the state has enough evidence to convict him. A judge sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of probation and parole. Phelps has been taken to the Department of Corrections in Fulton.

Dallas County Sheriff Scott Rice says James Phelps showed no emotion while in court.

Sheriff Scott Rice said DNA confirmed Rainwater’s flesh was found in a freezer. He said the rest of her remains were scattered on a nearby property belonging to Bill Rainwater, Cassidy’s grandfather. Tests returned to the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office in November confirmed the remains matched with Rainwater.

Sheriff Rice says he is glad there is now some closure for the family.

“I’m glad the victim’s family has finally found some closure on part of it now,” said Sheriff Rice. “We all say a prayer for them. We wish this had never happened to their family. "

KY3 News first broke the news of the case in mid-September 2021. FBI investigators contacted detectives in Dallas County, saying they received photos from an anonymous person showing Rainwater in a cage. Investigators say a detective recognized Rainwater in a partially nude state. After searching Phelps’ phone, officials discovered seven photos of Rainwater.

Co-defendant Timothy Norton also faces first-degree murder charges in the case. A judge scheduled a court appearance in May.


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