Phelps hearing: Prosecutor says Phelps and Norton would search for potential victims at Walmart or online

Cassidy Rainwater

DALLAS COUNTY, Mo.- James Phelps, one of two men charged in the murder of Cassidy Rainwater, appeared in court Friday afternoon, and the judge denied bond.

The judge also set a preliminary hearing for December 17 at 9 a.m.

When the topic of bond came up, the defense argued for Phelps to have a bond and claimed he should get it because he would live with family, and he’s not a flight risk since he’s lived in Dallas County his entire life. The prosecution argued back, saying the charges alone make Phelps a flight risk and a danger.

The judge said Phelps should remain in jail saying no combination of money or conditions like house arrest would ensure he wouldn’t flee or hurt someone else. Prosecuting Attorney Jonathan Barker told the court Phelps’ co-defendant, Timothy Norton, confessed he and Phelps would search for potential victims online as well as a nearby Walmart.

Prosecuting Attorney Barker also said his office isn’t seeking the death penalty in this case right now, but they are still weighing all options.

During Friday’s appearance, the defense asked for another hearing in December because the prosecution will be handing evidence over to the defense. The defense filed a motion for discovery, but it hasn’t been answered yet. The defense wanted more time because of the new charges.

Phelps and Norton were officially charged with killing Rainwater and abandoning her body on Wednesday, November 17. Authorities say Rainwater was likely staying with Phelps on Moon Valley Road in early July.

Cassidy Rainwater image with two accused kidnappers

Dallas County deputies accused Phelps and Norton of killing Rainwater a couple of weeks later.

Norton’s next hearing is scheduled for November 23.

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