Murder suspect awaits mental health results

Victim's mother ready for court proceedings to end

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The man charged with murdering a 20-year-old woman last year was back in court Tuesday for a pretrial hearing.

Investigators said James Rhodes shot and killed Shelby Farah (pictured below) during a burglary at a MetroPCS store in Brentwood.

Attorneys are waiting for results from Rhodes' mental health evaluation to see if he is eligible for the death penalty.

Farah's mother, Darlene Farah, said she's ready for the court proceedings to be over.

"I start shaking real bad. It just takes everything out of me," Darlene Farah said. "It's hard to sit there and look at somebody who took your child's life away, to just stand there like he doesn't even care, like it's nothing to him."

Defense attorneys previously filed a motion to rule out the death penalty, saying Rhodes has an intellectual disability. A psychologist has evaluated Rhodes, and his defense attorneys are still waiting for a report.

Darlene Farah said she does not think he's mentally disabled.

As for whether Rhodes should get the death penalty if convicted, Darlene Farah said: "I can't put a date on anybody's life, only God can. I put it in God's hands, and whatever happens, it happens."

Farah said her daughter was beautiful on the inside and out. She said she was passionate about making a difference.

"The kids and I were talking about it last night and this morning. 'Mama, if Shelby was here, you and Shelby would be right in front of a voting precinct, holding up signs,'" Farah said. "Because we always volunteered with campaigns. Shelby wanted to see changes in the city. She was the one who got me involved."

"Shelby always said she was going to make history because she was going to be the first female mayor."

Shelby Farah loved and mentored kids. It hurts her mom knowing her daughter never got to have children of her own.

"I don't sleep at night, I don't," Darlene Farah said. "If I fall asleep, it's after days of not sleeping, and then if I fall asleep, I'm up in less than an hour. It's like I hear her voice saying, 'Mama, let me in. Mama, let me in.' At one point, I thought I was going crazy.'"

"It takes a lot out of us to just look at him. I just want Shelby to be able to rest in peace."

The results of that mental health evaluation will determine Assistant State Attorney John Guy's next move and if he wants another doctor to evaluate Rhodes once again. The next pretrial hearing is set for Sept. 15.

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