Criminal Justice

“We will be forced to relive her death every single time there is a hearing.”

Jul 19, 2016

When my beautiful daughter Shelby Farah was murdered, I was devastated. Shelby was smart and compassionate – she was an incredible young woman and I miss her dearly every single day. And because Shelby was compassionate, I know that she would not want her murderer to be put to death.

James Xavier Rhodes murdered Shelby while robbing the Metro–PCS store she was working at in Jacksonville, FL. State Attorney Angela Corey is prosecuting Rhodes and is seeking the death penalty. This is despite my objections – my family and I do not want Rhodes put to death for Shelby’s murder. And I know Shelby wouldn’t want that either.

As a family, losing Shelby was the single greatest tragedy we have faced. If Rhodes is sentenced to death, there will be years of appeals and no justice for my daughter. We will be forced to relive her death every single time there is a hearing. Rhodes has agreed to plead guilty with consecutive life sentences without parole. This is what our family wants, this is what will give us peace, and yet State Attorney Angela Corey is ignoring our desperate pleas.

Corey is running for re-election this year, and I believe she is using Shelby’s murder to show how “tough” she is on crime. My daughter isn’t some prop to be used in her campaign – Shelby was a real person and deserves justice. But Corey does not care what is best for my family – the people directly and deeply affected by my daughter’s loss. She only cares about what is best for her re–election.

The only way my family can move forward is by cherishing the sweet memories we have of Shelby and celebrating the life she led. But we cannot begin the healing process if we do not have justice for Shelby. And we will not have justice for Shelby if State Attorney Corey continues her self–centered campaign for re-election, rather than doing what is best for my family.

If you’d like to support my family in asking State Attorney Corey to accept the guilty plea of my daughter’s murderer, you can sign my petition here.

Darlene Farah’s daughter, Shelby Farah, was murdered by James Xavier Rhodes while working at a Jacksonville, FL Metro–PCS store in 2013.

Darlene’s story is part of our Voices of Change series, which highlights how people are using the platform to change their lives and the lives of those around them.