A Texas woman was shot and killed in her sleep over the weekend by assailants who the family suspects were actually targeting her brother.
Emma Presler, 18, appeared in court on Tuesday in relation to a Sunday night shooting in the Cypress area that left 20-year-old Sierra Rhodd dead, KTRK reports. Rhodd, who lived in the home with her parents and 15-year-old brother, was asleep when a group of people believed to be armed with, at the minimum, a shotgun, pistol, and rifle opened fire on the family’s home and killed her, Click 2 Houston reports.
Presler is one of at least three suspects authorities are seeking in relation to the shooting: Two males, who authorities suspect fired the fatal shots, have yet to be apprehended, according to KTRK.
Rhodd's family thinks that the shooters were actually targeting her brother, who had long been having problems with a group of people and which had previously led to the police responding to the family’s home, Click 2 Houston reports.
Investigators believe the assailants fled the scene in multiple getaway vehicles, including a stolen motorcycle and a red pick-up truck. Presler was found in a truck matching a description of one of the getaway vehicles a short time after the shooting, but a judge on Tuesday criticized prosecutors for not building a stronger case or produce any evidence tying Presler to the shooting.
"Just because I drive a red truck doesn't mean I'm involved in a murder," the judge said during the hearing, according to KTRK. "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."
The judge ruled that there did not exist probable cause to charge Presler with murder, but gave prosecutors the option of collecting more evidence in the case and possibly bringing the case before a grand jury at a later date.
The victim’s mother, Krystal Rhodd, said of the ruling, "I don't know what else evidence they need. She was there. She was in the car. I'm sick to my stomach about the whole thing."
A man identified as Presler’s stepfather has claimed that she is innocent, however.
“There were other people involved and I don’t believe she was in any way, shape or form shooting people,” the unnamed man told Click 2 Houston.
The family has demanded justice for Sierra, who had cerebral palsy, according to another Click 2 Houston report.
“My girl didn’t do nothing to deserve anything,” her father, Michael Rhodd, said. “She has cerebral palsy, laying in the bed and you shoot her in the face.”
Following the shooting, dozens of shell casings were recovered from the street in front of the house, according to the outlet. Rhodd’s mother has said that she will not go back to the house where her daughter was murdered.
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