AUSITN,TX-Sunday, July 23, 2004
Jimmy Joste and Rhonda Lee Glover dated for 15 years and had a 10-year-old son. On Sunday, Jimmy Joste was found slain in his Austin home.
A week after Rhonda Lee Glover bought a 9 mm Glock pistol at an Austin gun store and firing range, Austin police said, she showed up at a Houston shooting range with her 10-year-old son seeking shooting lessons and advice.
"How do you shoot someone in the head while they are sitting on a couch and you're coming up from behind," she asked an employee at Top Gun of Texas in early July, according to an arrest warrant.
On Sunday, Glover's longtime boyfriend â€” the father of her son â€” was found dead in his Southwest Austin home, shot 13 times, and Glover, 38, had hit the road going north in a rented white recreational vehicle.
On Tuesday, Kansas Highway Patrol officers traced signals from Glover's cell phone to the RV, parked outside the Golden Ox truck stop in Hays. Kansas Highway Patrol Lt. Mark Deterding said Glover had stopped to buy milk for her son. Wearing a yellow sundress, she surrendered and was charged with murdering 55-year-old James Martin "Jimmy" Joste.
Glover's Houston-based lawyer, Paul J. Smith, declined to comment Wednesday.
While Glover sits in jail lin Ellis County, Kan. on a $1 million bail, Joste's friends and family are trying to fathom why anyone would kill a man who had such a generous heart.
"His only fault was that he loved women so much he probably overdid it in the generosity department," said Rocky Navarro, a local real estate agent who has been friends with Joste for 15 years. "Men like us can be taken advantage of if the wrong woman gets ahold of us."
Joste was an oil-patch millionaire from Houston, an entrepreneur who friends said was always looking for the next big oil strike. In the 1980s, they said, he jumped into horizontal drilling as it was becoming the new technique to reach hard-to-tap oil reserves.
Friends say Joste's 15-year relationship with Glover started at a party at a friend's ranch. Though he never married her, they had a child together and he bought her several cars and houses, including the Austin house where Joste was found dead.
"Everything she had, he gave to her," said Stan Weiner, a former Houston oilman.
Weiner and others said they don't know much about Glover's past, but her presence caused them to distance themselves from their gregarious friend. Glover and Joste's relationship was on and off and frequently troubled, Weiner said.
Kelley Joste says his brother â€” whose family's oil money goes back three generations â€” had countless friends in Houston, many of them oilmen like himself who enjoyed the company of beautiful women and frequented The Palm restaurant near the Galleria.
In that circle, Joste was the life of the party, slipping outlandish tips to waiters and picking up friends' tabs, said Danny Davis, who said he's known Joste since they were boys.
Joste always had money, but friends are not sure whether it came from a family inheritance or his entrepreneurial forays into the family business. Kelley Joste says Jimmy went through the inheritance quickly and spent much of it on Glover.
"Even if he was broke you would never know it," he said.
Navarro, Joste's Austin friend, said Joste was giving Glover at least $10,000 a month.
"Why would you kill the goose laying the golden egg?" he said. "This guy was beloved. He didn't have an enemy."
When they shared a beer on July 20, Navarro said Joste steered the conversation away from himself and his relationship with Glover.
Austin police said a call to Navarro the next morning was the last entry on Joste's cell phone, a call the real estate agent says he missed. That same morning, Glover and her son, John Chandler Joste, showed up at a friend's house in Cedar Park with the rented RV, according to the arrest warrant.
Police said Glover had moved out of the couple's limestone house in the Park at Travis Country, a gated subdivision, several months ago and was probably living in Houston, where she has family.
Glover's friend took her to rent a white Ford Taurus, which Glover said she needed to run errands, the warrant said. When Glover returned to the couple's home a few hours later, she gathered up her son and said they were headed to Arkansas, the warrant said.
Police said Glover had been reported missing in Houston since March. On Sunday, Glover's aunt went to the Austin house hoping to find her. Instead, she found the garage door and a utility door open and called 911. An Austin police officer found the decomposing body of Jimmy Joste lying near the doorway of his upstairs bedroom, his 160-pound frame perforated with bullets that police say their ballistics tests show markings on the slug were consistent with a Glock weapon.
Police say the couple's son is living with a foster family in Kansas while officials work out where to place him. According to Kelley Joste, Glover's mother, Sherlyn Shotwell, has legal custody. Shotwell could not be reached for comment.
Glover should be extradited to Texas within a couple of weeks, according to U.S. Marshal Hector Gomez. In addition to first-degree murder, Glover is charged with falsifying her address on a firearm application, a federal crime.