Jury finds woman guilty of boyfriend's murder
Rhonda Glover faces up to life in prison for 2004 shooting.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
A Travis County, Texas jury found Rhonda Glover guilty of murder this afternoon in the 2004 shooting death of her longtime boyfriend.
Glover, 39, a former Miss Houston contestant who ran an employee recruiting business, faces up to life in prison when the punishment phase of the trial begins Wednesday.
Glover's testimony that she killed Jimmy Joste to protect herself was "trash," a "prefabricated story," prosecutor Bryan Case told the jury during closing arguments today. Case called on the nine women and three men on the jury to recognize Glover's "crocodile tears" and find her guilty.
The jury deliberated for less than two hours.
On Friday, Glover testified that she went to the Southwest Austin house the couple once shared â€” where Joste had been living alone â€” to drop off her handgun and pick up camping gear in preparation for a trip to Nashville with the couple's son, now 11.
Glover told the jury she had been avoiding Joste for months because he would drink too much and beat her. She didn't think Joste would be at the house, but he came home, yelled at her and then grabbed her throat.
"I shot him," she testified, sobbing on the stand. "I shot him because I thought he was going to kill me."
Earlier Tuesday, prosecutors called several of Joste's friends to rebut Glover's testimony that Joste beat her. They testified that Joste was peaceful and docile and that Glover was an aggressive woman with a reputation for being a liar.
Prosecutors say Glover grew tired of Joste, 55, after spending much of his money during their on-again, off-again relationship, which began in 1990. Joste inherited millions from his family, which was in the oil business, and earned more by pioneering horizontal oil and gas drilling in the 1980s, friends testified.
Prosecutors said Glover carefully planned the murder, starting by purchasing the Glock 19 handgun and taking shooting lessons in the months before the shooting. Then, on July 21, 2004, according to testimony, she rented a car, drove it to a shooting range in Oak Hill, shot the gun at the range for about 20 minutes, then went to the house on Mission Oaks Boulevard, off Southwest Parkway.
In the upstairs bedroom and hallway. Glover emptied the gun's magazine, shooting Joste 10 times, according to testimony.
"She lured him to the house," prosecutor Gail Van Winkle said. "He worshiped this woman. And she surprised him with the gun and started shooting."
Glover's defense lawyer, Joe James Sawyer, told the jury during closing arguments that Joste was obsessed with Glover. He cited testimony that he withdrew more than $1 million from a bank in early 2004 and spent it on Glover. Joste had bought Glover a $350,000 engagement ring in early 2004, which Glover testified she knew about and declined.
Of Glover's plan to go to Nashville, Sawyer asked the jury: "Was it a plan to murder a human being or was it a plan to finally run away and