Second suspect arrested for man’s murder at Mead homeless camp

Pierre Rhodes
Credit: WADOC

MEAD, Wash. — The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office has arrested a second person in connection to the murder of a homeless man in Mead.

Pierre Rhodes, 22, was arrested for suspicion of first degree murder on July 6. The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office identified him as a suspect through their investigation.

On July 4, a witness said he and the victim, James Peterson, lived in tents next to each other near Farwell Road and Newport Highway. The witness said he learned of a recent death of a mutual friend of his and Peterson’s.

When he returned to camp, the witness started yelling out Peterson’s name. When he didn’t respond, the witness went inside Peterson’s tent and found him lying partially on a couch inside, documents said. Documents state that Peterson’s hands were “cold to the touch.” The witness said that it was obvious that he was dead. That’s when the witness called 911.

During an interview, documents say that the witness described a recent fight involving Peterson and “Bobby’ Tolliver, who was later arrested in connection to the murder.

Another witness who lives near the camp said Tolliver sent them a message. One text message said, “I’m in trouble and needed you’re the only one I can trust,” documents said.

According to court documents, Tolliver told the witness that he and Rhodes had gone to Peterson’s camp on July 3. They were allegedly looking for bike parts that he believed Peterson stole from him. Tolliver told her they found some of the parts.

Tolliver allegedly left while Rhodes stayed, documents explain. When Tolliver got back, Rhodes came back to the campsite and that “things had gotten out of hand with James and that James was now dead,” documents stated.

On July 3, Tolliver also sent a video to the witness. The video shows Tolliver in a tree and said Peterson was getting into the victim’s belongings.

“So, here I am, 100 meters from his camp, 40 feet up in a tree waiting for him to get home and when he does, he’s cutting off his other thumb,” Tolliver stated, according to documents.

When officers took Tolliver into custody, he said he and Peterson got into a fight over stolen bike parts. At first, documents state that he said he hasn’t seen Peterson in months. However, he then said that he and Rhodes were planning on confronting Peterson about the bike parts.

According to court documents, Tolliver said he backed out and didn’t have a part in the murder.

Another witness, who allegedly stored the bike they took from the campsite, said Pierre told them to “do something with the bicycle because he had probably killed James.”

Tolliver was arrested for first degree murder and booked into the Spokane County jail. He’s being held on a $500,000 bond.

Rhodes was found on July 6 at the HomeTown Studios and was arrested for first degree murder. His bond was set at $1,000,000.

They both have a criminal background. According to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, Rhodes was out on bond from a June 2020 incident. He’s accused of hitting a woman over the head with a metal chair. He’s also under DOC supervision, as he’s a six-time convicted felon. Some of those convictions include assault, burglary and criminal mischief.

Tolliver has a felony theft conviction.

According the medical examiner, Peterson appeared to have died from blunt force trauma to the head, documents state. He also allegedly had severe injuries to the left side of his head and face. A detective soon discovered a cordless sander/grinder in the tent. It was broken in half and had what appeared to be blood on it. The detective believe it was used in the murder, documents state.

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