Phelps enters Alford Plea, Norton in Court today

60-year-old James Phelps, one of the two men accused of kidnapping and killing 33-year-old Cassidy Rainwater in Dallas County in 2021, has entered an Alford plea for first-degree murder. An Alford plea, a type of guilty plea in which a defendant maintains their innocence but acknowledges prosecutors have sufficient evidence for a conviction. It allows the defendant to accept a guilty verdict without a criminal trial.

Phelps’s defense team admitted that the state has enough evidence to convict him. As a result, he has been sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of probation or parole. Dallas County Sheriff Scott Rice revealed that DNA evidence confirmed Rainwater’s flesh was found in a freezer, and the rest of her remains were scattered on a nearby property belonging to Bill Rainwater, Cassidy’s grandfather.

In mid-September 2021, FBI investigators contacted detectives in Dallas County, saying they received photos from an anonymous person showing Rainwater in a cage, and after searching Phelps’ phone, officials discovered photos of Rainwater. Co-defendant Timothy Norton is also facing first-degree murder charges in the case, and a court appearance was scheduled for Today May 2nd. Horton’s next court setting is June 27th.