Timothy Norton, one of the two men accused of kidnapping and killing Cassidy Rainwater over the summer, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and abandonment of a corpse. Dallas County Prosecutor Jonathan Barker filed those charges last week. Through a video conference, Norton appeared before Judge Lisa Henderson and allowed Springfield Attorney Brandon Twibell to enter the not guilty plea. Henderson set a preliminary hearing date for February 2nd. The bond discussion for Norton initially scheduled for yesterday was postponed until the preliminary hearing date. Norton’s co-defendant in the case, James Phelps, has already been denied bond and remains in the Dallas County Jail in Buffalo, while Norton remains in the Greene County Jail in Springfield.
Phelps and Norton had been jailed on a kidnapping charge since mid-September when photos of Rainwater partially nude and in a cage were found on Phelps’ phone.
Norton told investigators Phelps asked him to help kill Rainwater while she was staying at Phelps’ home. He said he held Rainwater down while Phelps put a plastic bag over her head and strangled her.
Sheriff’s deputies were contacted in August by a woman who said Rainwater hadn’t been seen since July and Phelps was the last person she was seen with.
On October 4th, a fire that investigators have ruled an arson destroyed Phelps’ home. Officials investigating the fire found two explosive devices made with mortar tubes and balloon covers, with tripwires attached, near the home.
Investigators say they have no evidence to indicate that any other victims are associated with Phelps and Norton.