Murder, they blogged
When she was 13, Rachelle maintains, she told her mother she'd been raped. Her mother, she claimed, didn't believe her, thinking it was just one of Rachelle's wild excuses for breaking her curfew. The family never reported the incident, but, if it did happen, this unfortunate event would not have been the only time that young Rachelle would be the object of sexual aggression by her elders.
Defense attorneys would paint Rachelle as the victim of an adult's sexual machinations, claiming that Arrant was a lonely, conniving man desperate to preserve a rare sexual connection. An confused girl might easily get swept into an older, domineering partner's scheme and lie for himand she might just as easily be bullied by police into telling them what they wanted to hear in a clumsy effort to ingratiate herself.
There are indeed holes in the stories that Rachelle told the investigators, which they taped (and she would later retract). For one thing: why did Arrant and Radel go through the trouble of breaking in through the garage? Had she been helping them to plan the killing, especially under the guise of a drunk driving accident, she could have told them how she habitually sneaked in and out of a family room window, or simply told them where the family stowed the spare key they kept outside for emergencies.
Radel would assert that Arrant's talk of Rachelle's mother's abusive ways, combined with his desire to prove himself a good friend to them both, drew him into the plot. He says that he gained none of his knowledge of Rachelle's supposed need for protection or desire for revenge from her directly. Everything was filtered through his "blood brother" Arrant. In a Dateline interview after their trials, Radel announced that he didn't think Rachelle actually wanted her mother killed.
So perhaps Rachelle was just an unhappy, conflicted teen, whose airings of grievances with her mother were only the sparks to a terrible, lust-fueled crime by a lonely and maladjusted manor maybe her manipulative skills let her fool Radel and stump the jury.