Guilty verdict delivered in Wimberley murder trial
A Hays County jury handed down a guilty verdict to Jimmy Lee Rhodes following a week’s worth of testimony alleging Rhodes knowingly and intentionally killed his former wife, Christina Anderson.
Closing arguments took place Tuesday in the 274th District Court between Erika Price, Assistant Criminal District Attorney for Hays County, and defense attorney John Evans.
Evans pleaded with jurors to find Rhodes innocent, suggesting the shooting was unintentional due to drugs and alcohol. Speaking to the jurors, he said you had only one of two choices in the case — murder — or not murder.
“The one thing that’s important is the bit of testing that came from Mrs. Baxter from the Department of Public Safety,” said Evans. “She talked about the combination of drugs present in the data that might lower inhibitions and might have you do something we wouldn’t normally do.”
But Price wasn’t going to have it.
“I find it hard to believe anybody who's sat through the last week of trial would find this anything but a murder,” Erika Price said. “All the evidence that you've seen, all the words you've heard; that’s been a good amount.”
Price then replayed a montage of videos showing Rhodes admitting to the shooting.
“(Rhodes) told you in four different statements that he gave to six different people — he shot her,” Price said. “Feb. 9, 2017, Christina Anderson died by single gunshot. After calling 911 saying that that man is chasing her around — her husband — and he's running around with a bunch of firearms. An hour later she calls her friend and says she was threatened with death by him. The defense wants you to read the charges carefully and says it doesn't prove him guilty of murder. Yes, it does. Yes, it does.”
Price told jurors even if they don't believe he intended or knowingly caused her death Rhodes still intended to point a gun at her.
“He still opened that backdoor and pointed a gun at her, and pulled the trigger,” Price said. “There's nothing more intentional than that. Just because he called 911 doesn’t mean he didn’t shoot her. Just because he didn’t cover it up doesn’t mean he isn’t a murderer.”
Price said the most ridiculous thing to her was that Rhodes said he “Just wanted them to go their separate ways.”
“Then why did you get the gun,” Price added. “Why did you have a gun in your hand in the first place? He had a gun because he was intimidating her and threatening her because he was ticked. Whatever she said set him off. That’s the truest statement he gave law enforcement.”
Anderson married Rhodes in late 2011 and moved together from Clear Lake — where Anderson had been working at a school — to Huffman, Texas. In 2014, the couple divorced but later started seeing each other again.
Later, the couple moved to Wimberley where they resided at No. 6 Cripple Creek Court.
On Feb. 9, 2017, a call came into 911 dispatchers from Anderson.
“My husband is running around with a bunch of firearms. He tried to lock me out of the house, I got back in … he’s absolutely going crazy,” Anderson was heard saying on the 911 recording.
During this time 911 operators placed the call on hold to contact law enforcement to be dispatched immediately to the residence.
When operators came back to the phone there was no answer.
“Ma’am can you hear me? Ma’am can you push a button on the phone; can you hear me. Hello, ma’am,” the operator asked.
Several attempts were made to contact Anderson with no avail.
Following the guilty verdict rendered Tuesday, sentencing will take place Wednesday with Judge Bruce Boyer present.