JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - New, disturbing evidence was released Monday in the murder of a young Metro PCS employee last year. The State Attorney's Office released surveillance video from inside the Brentwood store before 20-year-old Shelby Farah was shot and killed.
Outside the store, 22-year-old James Rhodes, who's charged with murder in the killing, is seen on video, investigators said. Police said he was casing the store and waiting for the crowds to leave.
Police have video they are not releasing that shows the robbery and shooting, but they did release photos that show bullet casings in the store and money from the register on the floor.
It took several days for detectives to arrest a suspect in the case, but they found Rhodes in his home and said they linked his clothing to the robbery and killing.
After Rhodes was arrested, he was interviewed by detectives, as seen on video. He did not say much at first and was surprised he was being detained.
"Do you have any idea why you are down here?" a detective asked.
"No, not at all," Rhodes said.
"Nothing?" the detective said. "Well, I will explain."
Police talked to a number of witness who had no problem in helping them and identifying the man in the photos with the gun, the interrogation video shows.
The interviews revealed that Rhodes (pictured) had spent a night of drinking, smoking pot and throwing a lot of money around in the hours after Shelby Farah was shot and killed.
"I don't want to get in trouble, I'm in school. I'm trying to get myself together," said Crystal Lewis, who was with Rhodes after the shooting.
Lewis cooperated with investigators and described a party-like atmosphere at Rhodes' home hours after 20-year-old Shelby Farah was gunned down inside the Brentwood Metro PCS store.
"Was he drinking at the house?" asked an investigator.
"Yes," said Lewis.
"Was he doing anything else other than drinking?" asked the investigator.
"We were smoking weed," said Lewis.
"Smoking weed? Do you know how he bought the weed?" asked the investigator.
"Yes," Lewis said. "Before we left the house, hit the corner, somebody he knew, he asked could he get weed and they gave him $25 for $20."
"$25 worth of weed for $20, is that a yes?" the investigator asked.
"Yes," Lewis said.
Lewis said that 21-year-old Rhodes had returned home that day in different clothes with $200 in his pocket. Lewis admitted to hiding Rhodes' shoes after recognizing the unique pair in police photos that were released to the news.
"Where did you hide them at?" asked the investigator.
"Up and around the house, between four and five houses down from his mom's house," Lewis said.
"Are you going to take detectives to where those shoes are?"
"Yes," Lews said.
James Rhodes' mother, Tonya Rhodes, also sat down with investigators. Tonya Rhodes told police that she watched the news and said that there was never a doubt who was captured on store surveillance that day.
"The one in the foreground with the blue bandana around his neck, do you know who that is?" asked the investigator.
"That's James," Tonya said.
"You're certain that is him?"
"I'm 100 percent that's him," Tonya said.
"And that's your signature on the back of that?" asked the investigator.
"Yes, people know their children."
The surveillance video shows Shelby Farah minutes before she was killed and Rhodes can be seen clearly "casing," according to investigators. Investigators said he was waiting for crowds to leave to enter the store, but when Rhodes was questioned, he denied knowing anything.
"Do you have any idea why you are down here?" asked the investigator.
"No. Not at all," said Rhodes.
Rhodes ended up confessing to Farah's murder, but police cannot release that video.
For the Farah family, who have been very vocal in the past, this information released Monday is upsetting.
"It's very troubling because they essentially relive the death of daughter and their sister," said Lawrence Najem, the family's attorney. "There are two siblings and her mom, and (Shelby's mother) Darlene (Farah) is having a difficult time with this. So when the evidence is released to the press, it causes the family to relive what they went though last summer."
Rhodes is being held at the Duval County Jail without bond. The case is expected to go to trial this summer. The State Attorney's Office is seeking the death penalty in the case.
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