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Judge rules against bond for James Phelps, accused in death of Cassidy Rainwater

James Phelps/Dallas County Courthouse
James Phelps/Dallas County Courthouse(KY3)
Published: Nov. 19, 2021 at 2:18 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 19, 2021 at 5:15 PM CST
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BUFFALO, Mo. (KY3) - A judge ruled no bond for one of two men accused in the strangling death of Cassidy Rainwater in Dallas County.

James Phelps appeared in John C. Porter’s courtroom Friday. The Dallas County prosecutor on Wednesday filed new first-degree murder charges against James Phelps and accomplice Timothy Norton for Rainwater’s death. The prosecutor also charged them with the abandonment of a corpse. They each faced kidnapping charges in Rainwater’s disappearance.

Attorneys for Phelps argued for bond, saying they had a safe place for him to stay. They also argued his lack of violence in his past as a reason for a bond.

Judge Porter set a court date for December 17. Norton will appear in court next on November 23.

Investigators say Norton admitted Phelps asked him to help kill Rainwater while she was staying at Phelps’ home. Investigators say Norton admitted to holding down Rainwater’s legs while Phelps strangled her. Investigators say they dismembered her body in a bathtub. Investigators found the remains in a freezer. In total, more than 200 pieces of evidence were recovered at the home.

KY3 News first broke the news of the kidnapping of Rainwater in mid-September. 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. According to detectives, Rainwater had been staying with Phelps while she got on her feet. Investigators say Phelps claims she had left in the middle of the night at the end of July and he had not seen her since then. Detectives searched the area for several days.

Sheriff Rice says investigators have not located any evidence leading them to believe there are any other victims associated with Phelps and Norton at this time. Sheriff Rice says this is an ongoing investigation. If there is anyone who believes they may have information concerning this case, they can call investigators at the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office at 417-345-2441.

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