11:07 AM

March 11, 2022

James Phelps

Lawyers for one of the men charged with Cassidy Rainwater-Paul's murder last summer in Dallas County are beginning to file motions for their client.

Tom Jacquinot wants prosecutors to dismiss a felony charge of abandonment of a corpse against his client.  He also made a motion regarding whether or not his client will need to appear in court in person for upcoming hearings; and his intent to interview state crime lab analysts before Phelps' preliminary hearing, which has been set and rescheduled several times.  

Jacquinot, a public defender who was once part of Missouri's death penalty team, wants all hearings recorded, according to filed motions.

Prosecutor Jonathan Barker had no objection to Phelps appearing via webcam for upcoming hearings, according to his response filed in court documents yesterday.

In August of 2021, a relative reported Cassidy missing and said she was last seen at a DFS meeting in Lebanon in early July.

The FBI passed along a cyber-tip with photographs labeled "Cassidy" to Dallas County investigators on September 16, 2021.

Phelps was arrested on September 17, 2021.  Timothy Norton, who referred to Phelps as his "brother," was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping Cassidy in late September as he was leaving a Walmart in Lebanon.  

Dallas County prosecutor Jonathan Barker said in a court hearing last year that Norton and Phelps would troll for victims online and at Walmart's.

Cassidy Rainwater

It would take authorities two more months to add murder charges against the pair for Cassidy's death.  Pictures on Phelps' phone allegedly show a partially nude Cassidy being held in a cage and tortured within the cabin at 386 Moon Valley Road and tied to a gantry crane outside, where she was disemboweled.  

Norton told investigators that Phelps communicated with him on July 24, 2021, and asked him to come to the cabin to help subdue Cassidy.  He told investigators that he held her legs down while Phelps put a bag over her head and strangled her.  

Court documents say Norton told investigators that he helped Phelps carry Cassidy outside to a gantry crane, and then back to the bathtub in the cabin where she was dismembered.

Investigators found bags of Cassidy's flesh inside a freezer in the cabin.  The bags were dated 7/24 and had her initials on them.  Cassidy's ex-boyfriend says he, and the children they shared, were swabbed for DNA and that's how her remains were identified.  

Dallas County Sheriff Scott Rice says Norton and Phelps had been planning Cassidy's murder for a couple of months.  

In early October of 2021, the cabin on Moon Valley Road burned to the ground.  The fire has been ruled arson and there have been no arrests made in connection to that incident.  

Sources say there was only one bathtub in the cabin.  A bathtub was in the fire rubble after the blaze.  Whether or not it is the bathtub that Cassidy was dismembered in is not known at this time.