Woman pleads guilty to murder, co-defendant holding out for jury trial


Last Updated on April 8, 2016 – 9:58 PM CDT

Above: Jessica Shepherd, left, pleaded guilty to murder, but her co-defendant is planning to go to jury trial.

A woman charged with the murder of 74-year-old Dumas man pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison, but court documents show her co-defendant is planning to take her case to a jury trial.

Jessica Shepherd pleaded guilty to the murder of James Muir, who was found in his mobile home in the 800 block of North Dumas Avenue on May 29, 2015. The Moore County Sheriff’s Department said they received a phone call from someone in Illinois that day, alerting them to a possible homicide. A sheriff’s department’s investigator went to Muir’s home and found his body. He had been murdered the day before.

Shepherd’s freedom didn’t last long after she murdered Muir. On the day the investigator found Muir’s body, authorities in Greensburg, Kansas, arrested Shepherd and her co-defendant, Cassandra Amole, after they uncovered information about the murder during a traffic stop. The Moore County Sheriff’s Office and the Kiowa County Sheriff’s Office conducted a joint investigation, and Shepherd and Amole were extradited to Moore County.

Court records show Shepherd pleaded guilty Jan. 27, but Amole, charged with first-degree murder, is taking her case to a jury trial. Amole’s attorney, Rick Russworm, on Jan. 15 filed a motion to suppress evidence Amole claims was obtained illegally. The motion says the Texas Rangers and the Moore County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant on Amole’s home in Sunray, but it was illegally issued because “the supporting affidavit doesn’t reflect probable cause to justify the issuance of a search warrant.” The motion was denied.

A trial date set for Feb. 22 was vacated, but a new trial date hasn’t been set. The court records show the Moore County District Attorney didn’t seek the death penalty in Shephard’s case, nor will he seek in Amole’s case.