Investigator: Suspect's DNA, couple's blood found in car - FOX Carolina 21

Investigator: Suspect's DNA, Greenville couple's blood found in car

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Jonathan Rhodes appears in court with his attorneys. (May 1, 2013/FOX Carolina) Jonathan Rhodes appears in court with his attorneys. (May 1, 2013/FOX Carolina)
Jonathan Rhodes (Greenville Co. Sheriff's Office) Jonathan Rhodes (Greenville Co. Sheriff's Office)

The man accused of killing an elderly Greenville County couple found dead in their home in October appeared in court on Wednesday.

Deputies said 78-year-old Gary Wells and his wife, 77-year-old Helen, were found stabbed to death in their Terramont Drive home Oct. 3. They said the couple's bodies were found by their housekeeper, Shirley Rogers.

Less than a month after their deaths, Greenville County deputies arrested 23-year-old Jonathan Rhodes in connection. He was charged with two counts each of burglary, murder, kidnapping and possession of a weapon during a violent crime.

"Scientific evidence obtained during this investigation has led to the arrest of a suspect," said Maj. Shea Smith, of the Greenville County Sheriff's Office, following Rhodes' arrest.

In court on Wednesday, investigator Chris Hammett told the prosecution that Rhodes' DNA, along with blood samples of both Gary and Helen Wells, were found in the passenger seat of a car Rhodes was thought to have been driving on the night of their deaths.

Rogers, Hammett said, was seen in surveillance video as a passenger in that same car, early on Oct. 2, the morning after the killings. It was Oct. 3 that Rogers and a neighbor found the Wells' bodies and called authorities.

Hammett explained that Rogers had been fired by the Wells weeks earlier, after she was accused of fraud, for using Helen Wells' bank card without permission.

When Rogers was taken in for questioning, Hammett said investigators searched her phone. He said they found that she had made many calls to one number around the time that medical examiners said the Wells were killed.

The number belonged to Rhodes' roommate, but when investigators called it, the voicemail message was for a man who called himself, "Really Real," Hammett said. He said that was the rapper name that Rhodes used and was investigators' first real link to Rhodes.

The phone company tracked his phone, via GPS, and Hammett said it hit at "three different locations within approximately 500 feet of the incident location," at the time of the deaths.

In an on-camera interview with FOX Carolina last October, Rogers claimed that Rhodes had nothing to do with the couple's deaths. Hammett said when speaking to investigators, Rhodes denied being there, or knowing the Wells.  

On Wednesday, Hammett explained that Rogers and Rhodes had been in a romantic relationship. He said investigators found that Rhodes had been driving his roommates' car the night of the killings, which was the car they searched and where investigators found the DNA samples.

In court, Rhodes' public defender, John Mauldin, maintained that there were holes in the investigation since "you can't see who's driving [his roommate's] car. You can't determine who was talking on [his roommate's] telephone."

Judge Diane Cagle read Rhodes' charges aloud, and sent the case to the grand jury.

Rogers is not considered a suspect in the Wells' death, investigators have said.

In a separate, unrelated case, federal prosecutors said Rogers pleaded guilty to fraudulently using another person's debit card without permission and using another person's name and personal identification number to complete the debit card fraud.

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