Emma Presler is an 18-year-old woman from Cypress, Texas, who was arrested on charges accusing her of murder in the fatal drive-by shooting of a disabled woman who was killed while sleeping in her bed, according to police. But Presler was released from custody after a judge found no probable cause to hold her and told prosecutors to bring the case before a grand jury, ABC 13 News reports. The victim, Sierra Rhodd, 20, who had cerebral palsy, was killed on September 13.
Multiple shots were fired around 11:00 p.m on September 13 before witnesses saw suspects flee in a few vehicles including a dark-colored sedan, a stolen motorcycle and a red pickup truck. Rhodd was asleep while her parents, 15-year-old brother and his girlfriend were watching television. None of them were injured during the shooting. The bullets that killed Rhodd came through her window. Her father, Michael, discovered her dead body in her room. Between 40 to 60 shell casings from four different guns were found around the home, according to the Houston Chronicle.
“My girl didn’t do nothing to deserve anything,” Michael Rhodd told KPRC. “She has cerebral palsy, laying in the bed and you shoot her in the face.”
He told Fox 26 that he was headed to ask his daughter, who also had muscular dystrophy, what she wanted to eat when shots were fired.
“I went to ask her what she wanted to eat,” he said. “About the time that happened, they started shooting. All I could do is grab my wife, throw her to the ground, and try to run to my kids, and when I did, I got to her room, and she was just laying there. I tried to do everything I could, and I couldn’t do nothing.”
Presler was found driving the red pickup truck, which is registered to her boyfriend. Presler said in court on September 15 that she was driving the truck on her way to pick him up. Police are still looking for two other male suspects.
Presler’s father, Bill Bagby, told the Houston Chronicle that he believed that Presler was innocent. “We do not think she is responsible for the shooting,” he said. “It’s a little hard to wrap our heads around.”
Here’s what you need to know about Emma Presler and the fatal shooting of Sierra Rhodd:
1. A Texas Judge Found No Probable Cause to Charge Presler With Murder, but She Could Still Face Charges After the Case Is Heard by a Grand Jury
According to Click2Houston, a Texas judge James Callan said that even though Presler’s location and being found in a red pickup truck that witnesses say they saw flee the scene makes her a logical suspect, there isn’t any evidence that she fired a gun.
“Just because I drive a red truck doesn’t mean I’m involved in a murder,” Callan said in courtaccording to ABC. “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.”
Callan continued: “At this time, I don’t think y’all have probable cause,” he said according to the Houston Chronicle. “Most people involved in a drive-by, they do the drive-by and then they haul a** and they go somewhere — who knows where. They don’t hang around the crime scene.”
The judge later suggested that the case be presented to a grand jury and that prosecutors find more evidence on Presler.
2. Rhodd’s Mother Is Upset That Presler Wasn’t Charged
Rhodd’s mother, Krystal, expressed being outraged about Presler not being hit with charges. She told ABC that she felt there was enough evidence.
“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.”
With Judge Callan ordering Presler’s release and the other two suspects at large, no one is in custody regarding Rhodd’s death.
“I just want all of them to go to jail and rot in hell,” Rhodd’s mother added. “That’s what I want, because I will never, ever be the same, ever. She was the heart of her family. I don’t even know what I would do without her. She was my best friend.”
3. There’s 2 GoFundMe Pages For Rhodd’s Funeral Costs
There are two GoFundMe pages that list that their purpose is to raise funds to pay for Rhodd’s funeral. One of them was created by Rhodd’s neighbors.
“Sierra Rhodd, the most loving beautiful sweetest neighbor ever,” the page reads. “Such a beautiful soul gone so soon. Facebook friends and family this fund is being made out for my neighbors [the] Rhodd family to help them out on any funeral cost for their loving daughter. Anything will help. Please lets keep the Rhodd family in our prayers.”
The other page said it was organized by Alexander and Kathleen Barrios on behalf of Becci Polmanteer. The page has raised $11,925 of their $20,000 goal. The page created by the neighbors has raised $5,682 of the $10,000 goal.
4. This Isn’t Presler’s First Run-in With the Law
Besides Rhodd’s death, Presler was also being held in Harris County Jail due to being charged with an abuse of a debit card charge. The Houston Chronicle reported that she was suspected to have broken into a Harris County Sheriff’s Office detention officer’s car and stealing his jacket where his debit card was in his pocket.
She was arrested on July 11, 2019 for possession of a controlled substance and evading arrest, Bail Bonds HQ wrote. In February, Presler was wanted for failure to appear on a possession of a controlled substance charge according to Montgomery County Police Reporter.
5. Rhodd’s Brother Was the Intended Target, the Victim’s Father Says
According to KHOU 11, the shooters were targeting Rhodd’s 15-year-old brother. When they began shooting, he ran outside and returned the fire. The shooting was in retaliation due to an ongoing feud involving her brother. The Sun reported that he had been receiving threats since March. Their father told Fox 26 that he that people his son has been feuding with are from “some gang called 10K.”