Wife testifies in jury trial for husband accused of killing his friend
IDAHO FALLS – The wife of a man on trial for killing his friend testified in court Wednesday.
Jessica Hendricks, formerly Jessica Nielsen, was called to testify on the events of a 2019 Labor Day shooting, in which her now-husband, Marshal Dee Hendricks, 31, killed her ex-boyfriend, Rory Neddo, allegedly in self-defense.
During an emotional day of trial, Jessica was brought to tears on the stand as she recalled the events, beginning at the start of that day.
According to her testimony, Jessica dropped off Neddo, at his mother’s house in Idaho Falls after a weekend camping, where she said they had been using methamphetamine “all day.” She then left to pick up her 3-year-old son, whom she shared with Neddo, at Hope Dixon’s house, a friend of hers and then-girlfriend of Marshal.
When she arrived at the house, Jessica discovered that Dixon was upset, because Neddo had called to tell her that Jessica had been having an affair with Marshal. Earlier that weekend, Neddo had gone through Jessica’s phone and found a selfie of Jessica and Marshal together.
Dixon then told Jessica that she had called Marshal and asked him about it, and he was then on his way to the house.
Marshal arrived, and Jessica and Dixon met him in the driveway.
A phone call was then made between Marshal and Neddo, where Marshal allegedly told Neddo, “If you want to f****** fight, come over, and we’ll fight.”
While waiting for Neddo to arrive, Jessica testified that she spoke with Marshal about Neddo coming over to “kick his backside.”
She said she was concerned, and Marshal told her, “If Rory is going to come, he is going to have to shoot me.”
Marshal allegedly said that if Neddo brought a friend, “I’m going to have to shoot them both as soon as they step out of the car.”
Dixon’s cousin and mother of Neddo’s two oldest children was also living at Dixon’s home at the time. She took her kids and Dixon’s kids and left before the fight. Dixon took Jessica’s 3-year-old son inside the house to “watch a show” so he wouldn’t see the fight.
When Neddo arrived to the house with his brother, Jason Wessells, Jessica says that she went to sit in her car because she “didn’t want to be in the way.”
From the car, Jessica said that she had a good view of the confrontation. When asked if she saw Neddo with a gun in his hand or anywhere else, she said no. In earlier testimony taken in 2021, Jessica also testified that if he had a gun, she would’ve been able to see it.
Jessica saw Neddo quickly jump out of the car and run toward Marshal, and Marshal pulled out his gun and pointed it at Neddo. She said that Neddo taunted Marshal by saying “Do it, do it, do it!”
According to Jessica, Neddo then “went to hit him, and Marshal pulled the trigger”, shooting Neddo in the face.
Jessica got out of her car and ran to Neddo, who was now lying on the ground in the driveway. Marshal then asked her to take the gun and tell police that it was hers because “it was the only thing that would save him.”
“I didn’t want to get him in trouble,” said Jessica in court. “You know, he had to do what he had to do.”
After the shooting, Jessica testified that Wessells ran up the driveway yelling, “That was my brother!” as he called 911.
Jessica told the jury that Marshal asked her for her car keys, and left the home in her car while she went into the garage to put down the gun.
According to earlier testimony from Sgt. Aaron Williams of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, after Marshal left, he called Williams saying, “I f***** up. I shot my friend.” Williams testified on Monday that he told Marshal to come to his house and they would “figure it out.” Williams then called the Jefferson County dispatch and alerted them about the situation.
Williams testified that he knew Marshal through work and through the mechanic shop that Marshal worked at. According to Williams, Marshal had done work on his cars.
When Marshal arrived at Williams’ house, Williams tried to calm him by putting his hand on the back of his neck and let him know that police were on their way.
Further testimony by Jessica revealed that on the day of the shooting, Neddo had been angry all day over the photo he had seen of Jessica and Marshal, and his anger was further fueled by his frequent use of methamphetamine that day.
“They had both (Neddo and Marshal) prepared me for if they shot someone else, not each other.”
The prosecution grilled Jessica on her past statements where she falsely claimed who had ownership over the gun that was used to kill Neddo.
When asked by Bonneville County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Russell Spencer, “What is the truth?” Jessica replied that it was her gun that she had purchased, but Neddo had given it to Marshal. Marshal had retrieved it from Dixon’s van before the shooting, but she did not see that happen.
Text messages that were shown in court Wednesday between Jessica and Wessells, Neddo’s brother, were sent just days after the shooting. Jessica apologized to Wessells, saying, “I made a lot of wrong choices this week that impacted a lot of people. I’m sorry. I’m so so sorry. I’m gonna do my very best to make it all as right as possible.”
Wessells responded telling her to tell the truth and that Rory would be “remembered through memories.”
Jessica responded, “I’m going to tell the truth. I’ve called the detective. Nobody prepares you for murder. They had both (Neddo and Marshal) prepared me for if they shot someone else, not each other.”
She said Neddo had prepared her for what to do if he ever shot someone. Neddo had told her to always keep her gun in a holster on her left side so that “he could quickly get it out” since “he was right-handed”. He then told her to wipe it for prints, and “he would know how to get rid of it.”
Jessica told Wessells over text, “It was not self-defense. He killed Rory for no damn reason. He shot the love of my life, and there will be justice.”
Jessica went back on this statement Wednesday. She said she now believes that it was self-defense. She told the jury that at the time she was “just trying to be loyal.” She also stated that she sent the text messages after smoking methamphetamine.
“I’m supposed to be on Rory’s side,” said Jessica. “But I’m not. I loved him, and I was with him for years, but he just was not nice.”
Jessica then went on to describe her relationship with Neddo before his murder.
“I cared about him. I loved him. I know it was toxic love, but I still cared about him,” said Jessica.
She said she and Neddo had been together for nine years on and off. They had broken up in June 2019, three months before the shooting. After the shooting, Jessica then began dating Marshal, and the two got married in March 2021.
Dixon, ex-girlfriend of Marshal and the occupant of the home where the shooting occurred, also testified Wednesday.
Jessica and Dixon agreed on many things during their testimonies, but they contradicted each other at times.
According to Jessica, Neddo had a reputation for being violent, especially while on drugs. But Dixon was not aware that Neddo had this reputation, despite knowing him for “over half” of her life.
Dixon also testified that she did not think that anybody was going to die that day.
“I just thought they were gonna fight it out,” Dixon said.
Marshal is expected to testify this week, although it was not clear when. Wessells, Neddo’s brother, is also expected to testify.
The trial will continue Thursday at 8:30 a.m.