Alleged O’Fallon, Missouri wife-killer turns down plea deal for reduced sentence

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O’FALLON, Mo. – Jamal Rhodes, who reportedly called police to say he shot his wife, turned down a plea deal for 20 years in her murder.

Rhodes looked straight ahead in court on Monday while two rows of the victim’s family stared at him.

“I actually switched spots because I wanted to see him,” said Kim Shaw, Catherine Rhodes’ sister. “I wanted him, I guess, to kind of feel the heat radiating off of us because we are angry.”

Rhodes would’ve been 30 years old this year.

Police said Jamal Rhodes shot and killed Catherine in their O’Fallon apartment on May 11, the day before Mother’s Day. Their three kids—ages 3, 4, and 9—were also home.

“We’re so upset and taken aback by this that he would take her from us and with his history,” Shaw said.

Rhodes was charged with second-degree murder, armed criminal action, and unlawful firearm possession. He had a history of domestic violence and served prison time for a previous offense.

“He came to us and said how much he had changed and that things were going to be different this time and clearly it wasn’t,” Shaw said.

Kim showed one of the last pictures she took with Catherine. Kim said the family was trying to get Catherine out if an abusive relationship.

“It actually created a small rift in our relationship because I refused to attend her wedding,” Shaw said. “However, a lot of the family kept our differences aside so that we could spend time with her and the kids and in doing so, it allowed us the last couple years with her.”

The family came to court Monday anticipating a possible plea deal.

“(It would’ve been for) 20 years, which we did not feel like was enough, however, it would keep the kids from having to sit through a trial, which I’m worried would be traumatic,” Shaw said. “(Instead) he has chosen to go the hard way.”

Now it appears Rhodes will take his chances with a jury in a trial in St. Charles County. The trial’s scheduled for the end of March.

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