Victim's family considers legal action

20-year-old killed during armed robbery at MetroPCS store


JACKSONVILLE, Fla – The family of the 20-year-old woman killed inside a Metro PCS store 2 weeks ago has hired an attorney and is looking at a potential lawsuit against the cell phone store.

Police arrested 21-year-old James Rhodes in Shelby Fara's death and he's been indicted on a first-degree murder charge.

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo of James Rhodes
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo of James Rhodes

Darlene Farah returned to the Metro PCS store Monday where her daughter was killed, after hearing they had re-opened. Darlene said she wanted to see how secure the business is where her daughter died, and wants to know if it could've been prevented.

Darlene said she's concerned how people who get out of jail find work. She said the man accused of killing her daughter is an ex-convict.

"I came to see if they have more than one person working in there, but you can see they have a guy working in there now," said Darlene.

She was angry to see two men working together when she said her daughter was working along the night of her murder. One of the employees inside the store told Darlene Monday that it was unusual for two employees to be working together, and that one of the men inside the store Monday night was a new employee who was training.

Darlene hired Jacksonville Attorney Dale Carson to start an investigation into whether Shelby's former employer could have done more to protect her.

"To determine whether owners or landlords owed her a duty to protect her from something like this happening," said Carson. "And if we determine Shelby was owed a duty and it wasn't met, then we ask a jury to give us some relief."

If they feel the landlord or business owner was negligent, then Carson said they will file suit. Local Defense Attorney, Gene Nichols, said in order to win cases like these, people have to prove safety in the area had been an ongoing concern before the murder.

"If the owner of the store had knowledge that things had happened out there before, then the owner of the store and owner of strip center could have liability," said Gene Nichols.

Channel 4 contacted Metro PCS for a comment about this story, but did not receive a response.

"I don't want it where people are scared to go to work," Farah said. "People are out there robbing people for a reason. You put them in jail and then they get released, they can't get jobs."

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Rhodes. Shelby was laid to rest Saturday.

About the Author: