DALLAS COUNTY, Mo. — James Phelps, one of two men accused in the death of Cassidy Rainwater, has a new attorney. According to court records, Phelps is now represented by Thomas Jacquinot, who is a public defender for the Capitol Division and is based in Kansas City.
According to the Missouri State Public Defender office, “The Capital Division of MSPD was established in 1989 to address the unique challenges that arise when the State seeks the death penalty. The purpose of this division is to provide the highest-quality representation to individuals against whom the State of Missouri is seeking the death penalty in the State Trial Court, the State Supreme Court, and the United States Supreme Court. Attorneys in this division engage in a daily struggle to save the lives and protect the constitutional rights of their clients.”
Phelps and his co-defendant Timothy Norton are charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping, and abandonment of a corpse.
Cassidy Rainwater was reported missing in July. After months of rumors, prosecutors charged Phelps and Norton with murder in her death. They are accused of kidnapping Rainwater, keeping her in a cage, killing her, and dismembering her body.
In November, authorities confirmed they found Rainwater’s remains on the property where Phelps was staying.
At a hearing for Phelps in November, prosecutors said Norton confessed he and Phelps would search for potential victims online and at a nearby Walmart.
James Phelps has not entered a plea in the case against him. He has a criminal setting scheduled for February 18, where attorneys will update the court on what is going on with Phelps’ case.
Norton has pleaded not guilty. He waived his preliminary hearing Tuesday and will be back in court again on February 22.