No probable cause found to charge teen with murder of woman shot in her sleep

Wednesday, September 16, 2020
Father of woman killed while sleeping: 'She was my angel'
"She was my baby," her dad said. "One moment she was there and the next she was gone."

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- A judge has found no probable cause to charge an 18-year-old woman who was arrested shortly after a 20-year-old was shot and killed while asleep in bed.

The teen, Emma Presler, appeared Tuesday afternoon in Harris County Probable Cause Court on a murder charge in connection with Sierra Rhodd's killing in the Cypress area Sunday night.

In court, the judge chastised prosecutors and investigators for not making a clear and convincing connection between the getaway cars spotted at the shooting, and finding Presler nearby in a similar truck several minutes later.

WATCH: ABC13's Jessica Willey's Tuesday night update on the case

Mother of murder victim "sick to my stomach" that judge finds no probable cause to hold suspect in jail.

"Just because I drive a red truck doesn't mean I'm involved in a murder," said the judge to the prosecutor in court. "There's a lot of things that indicate she may be involved, but until you have something that goes beyond reasonable suspicion, you don't have probable cause."

Krystal Rhodd, Sierra's mother, was angered by the development.

"I don't know what else evidence they need," she said. "She was there. She was in the car. I'm sick to my stomach about the whole thing."

Harris County Sheriff's Office is looking for at least three people involved in Rhodd's murder. So far, the two male suspects who are believed to have actually fired the shots have not yet been arrested.

"I just want all of them to go to jail and rot in hell," said Krystal. "That's what I want, because I will never, ever be the same, ever."

Investigators believe the shooting was a part of a retaliation plan against Rhodd's 15-year-old brother. Their mother says they've had to call police before.

"I just hate these people," said Krystal. "I have called the cops, they've been at my house 17 times."

The sheriff's office said its deputies have been to the house "several" times, but not in the double digits.

Rhodd, who everyone said was not involved in any dispute, was shot and killed while she was sleeping. Her family said she suffered from cerebral palsy.

Dozens of shots were fired into the family's home on Timber Crest and Jones around 11 p.m. Sunday. Video from the scene showed numerous evidence markers outside the house, highlighting the high volume of gunfire.

Rhodd's brother and parents were also home, but they were not hit.

The bullet that hit Rhodd went through her bedroom window, deputies say.

"She was my baby," her dad said. "One moment she was there and the next she was gone."

Investigators said the shooters took off in several vehicles including a stolen motorcycle, which was dropped nearby and found, a red pick-up truck, and one other car with no description.

At the time, deputies said someone was inside the truck when it was found and was questioned.

In court on Tuesday, prosecutors confirmed Presler was the person inside the red truck. However, they could not present any immediate evidence that showed she either fired a weapon or was seen running away from the home where the shots were fired.

The Harris County District Attorney's office had no official comment on the finding of No Probable Cause. Investigators were encouraged to gather more evidence, and, if the situation warrants, present Presler's case to a grand jury.

"She was the heart of her family," said her mom. "I don't even know what I would do without her. She was my best friend."

A GoFundMe has been set up to help pay for Rhodd's funeral costs.