An Upshur County jury sentenced Carlton Grant to life in prison without the possibility of parole for murder of Rachel Rhoads.
Judge Dean Fowler presided and the State was represented by its elected Criminal District Attorney, Billy W. Byrd and Assistant District Attorney Khriztyn Krininger. The defense was represented by Longview attorneys, Kevin Settle and Tom Tibelleti.
The Upshur County Sheriffs Office investigated this crime and deserve much credit for this resolution today.
According to the Upshur County District Attorney’s Office, on March 29, 2018 at 2:30 p.m. Rachel Rhoads (24 year old) was inside a home in the Flamingo Trailer Park in the Pine Tree area of Gregg County. Carlton Grant (B/M DOB: 12-3-80) and Lindsey McFadden (W IF DOB: 10/18/1988) who lived together at Longview Square Apartments walked to this home to see Rachel’s roommate at the time. Neither Grant nor McFadden had a vehicle. Evidence showed this was the first day Grant had ever seen Rachel. Rachel came walking through the living room of the home and Grant asked the homeowner who she was. Grant asked Rachel to give him and Lindsey a ride.
Rachel agreed to give them a ride and it cost her her life. Grant got into the backseat of her car and Grant reached around the neck of Rachel with a homemade “choking device” made of wire and began strangling Rachel. After pulling her into the backseat of her car he began punching her and placed a zip tie around her neck. Grant pulled it so tight, the zip tie strangled her to death.
He then drove her car, with her in the backseat floorboard, to buy drugs and see some “friends” before he and his girlfriend left town going to Dallas. The next morning Grant drove Rachel to Upshur County and drove deep into a pipeline right of way that was between Highway 154 and FM 726 outside of Diana. He drug her body into a clearing, poured gasoline over her and set her on fire. After Rachel’s mom could not find her daughter she reported her as a missing person.
On Easter Sunday, April 1, the body of Rachel Rhoads was found by a citizen who had just repaired his four wheel drive and was climbing the right of way. Her body was badly decomposed due to the fire and amount of days that had passed.
It took a few days before a positive identification could be made. Grant and McFadden were later found with the victim’s vehicle in Bedford, Texas and were arrested on April 5, 2018.