MetroPCS murder suspect wants trial

State seeking death penalty against James Rhodes

James Rhodes pleads not guilty to charges of first-degree murder and armed robbery.
James Rhodes pleads not guilty to charges of first-degree murder and armed robbery.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The man accused of robbing then killing Shelby Farah (pictured, below) while she was working at MetroPCS store pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Wednesday.

James Rhodes, 21, faces charges of armed robbery, aggravated assault, first-degree murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty, pointing out that Rhodes is a repeat offender. He was released months before Farah was killed.

After hearing that and being led out of the courtroom, Rhodes let out a scream, apparently in anger or frustration.

Darlene Farah, Shelby's mother, saw Rhodes for the first time in person.

"It made me sick, and then when he reacted the way he reacted in the courtroom, all I could think about was, 'What did he do to my baby before he shot her?'" she said.

"We want swift justice," said Dale Carson, the Farah's attorney. "I think the community loses when we do not get swift justice. On the other hand, he's accused, he's not convicted, and I think you've got to let the system progress."

Darlene Farah said she will not miss a court date, and she hasn't yet. In fact, Tuesday she went to a hearing for a second person she believes was involved in her daughter's death, even though he hasn't been charged in connection with the crime.

The man was released on time served for a drug paraphernalia charge.

Darlene Farah carries a few things with her everywhere she goes: A photo of her daughter Shelby and two condolence letters from Rep. Corrine Brown and Mayor Alvin Brown.

Shelby Farah, 20, was robbed, then shot and killed while working at MetroPCS on July 20.

"Shelby didn't get killed at a club. Shelby didn't get killed for a bad drug deal. Shelby didn't drink, Shelby didn't do drugs, Shelby didn't even smoke cigarettes," Darlene Farah said. "All Shelby did was go to work, put time in the community, volunteer with kids. Its crazy."

Darlene Farah led a very public fight for justice since the day of the shooting. She camped out at the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office until an arrest was made.

She's fought to speak personally with State Attorney Angela Corey about charging a second person with the crime.

"I was told he's cooperating with the state, but I don't understand why you need him when you got video surveillance of the whole shooting, the whole robbery and if you didn't want nothing to do with it, why are you still at the crime scene," Farah said.

Police said the second man, 27-year-old Justin Curry, was in surveillance photos from MetroPCS, with the man police believe shot and killed Farah. JSO released the images while searching for the shooter, but only the person police said fired the gun has been arrested.

"I just want to see justice served," Farah said. "Something's got to give, something's got to change. Every day, every day somebody's getting killed."

Rhodes' next pretrial is Sept. 23.