Silenced by the courts for years, two women speak out about the murder of their sister

ST. CHARLES, Mo. — Two women speak out about their sister’s murder and why the suspect was sentenced to just 20 years. They spoke to FOX 2 after years of being silenced by the courts.

In 2019, the day before Mother’s Day, a husband shot and killed his wife while their three children were at home.

Catherine Rhodes’ sisters Kim Shaw and Angie Jones speak out for the first time since 2020.

“We’ve seen firsthand that it’s such a battle for casualties that it makes perfect sense that so many casualties aren’t fighting,” Shaw said.

“Catherine wasn’t the only victim of that horrific day. There are so many people who have been victims of this one stupid act,” Jones said.

There was an early plea deal of just 20 years for Jamal Rhodes, but the defendant initially rejected it, and Catherine’s family said Judge Daniel Pelikan would not accept it if Jamal changed his mind.

“(Judge Pelikan) is one of the few who actually fights for victims of domestic violence. He’s someone who actually judges appropriately,” Shaw said.

FOX 2 was following the case at the time, including our report of a powerful testimony from one of the children.

The defense then got a new judge on the case, Deborah Alessi, who then issued a court order silencing the parties.

“It was really painful to be quiet and gagged through the whole process,” Jones said.

Shaw shared her thoughts on the process.

“It was really hard because it felt like he was going to win because he had silenced not just her but us, too,” she said.

The new judge then accepted the 20-year plea deal.

“I’m not surprised because it happens all the time,” said Lizzie Harrison, a domestic violence survivor.

Harrison now helps others through her nonprofit organization, Harrison’s referral services for women and children.

“I decided I wanted to turn my pain into power,” Harrison said, adding that her voice might be her greatest weapon — “When you’re silenced, you’re basically helping the abuser abuse even more.” “

Catherine’s sisters are now ready to use their voices to keep the memory of their loved one alive and to help others.

“You are not alone and this is not a private matter,” Jones said. “This is not just something that takes place behind closed doors. You have to watch out for your neighbors.”

The St. Charles County Attorney’s Office responded to FOX 2’s report by saying, “Crimes between intimate partners are among the most difficult cases to prosecute. Our primary goal in each of these cases is to achieve a just outcome, but we also recognize that the criminal justice system will often not provide victims and their families with complete satisfaction and the closure they undoubtedly need.”

Jamal has already served for about three and a half years. He could be released in about 13 to 16 years. Silenced by the courts for years, two women speak out about the murder of their sister

Sarah Y. Kim

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