Friend of Nacogdoches beating death victim: 'He was a good dude'

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The house mate of a man whose severely beaten body was found in his pickup, at the Nacogdoches Walgreen's, said she knew immediately who committed the April crime. Capital murder defendant Randy Ellinwood has not been found guilty of anything yet; he is awaiting his trial.

He made a court appearance today, and he could be back as early as next Friday. The victim's friends told the East Texas News that they are watching the court proceedings closely.

Felisha Doster and her mother attended a capital murder pre trial hearing not for the accused, but for the victim, Gilbert Thibodeaux.

"I feel the need to be here," Doster said. "All of us do."

Doster is convinced that Randy Ellinwood killed her housemate with the help of Erin Belz. She's in prison after pleading guilty to murder in October. Doster claims Ellinwood was in a jealous rage. She refers to Thibodeaux by the name of Joey.

"It's a long story," Doster said. "My sister and Joey was going through a breakup and decided to get back together, but in between that she met Randy, and when she told Randy she wanted to be with Joey …"

Things got worse, according to Doster.

"I was actually at Erin's house, and Randy had showed up with a shaved head and told me that he couldn't wait to beat Joey up, but I didn't take him seriously," Doster said.

Doster said, later, a phone call was placed by Erin Belz.

"Sunday she had called me and told me that you need to get Joey away from Austin Place," Doster said. "He's going to be beat up by Randy."

Investigators testified in an earlier court proceeding that Ellinwood did the physical beating and Belz made the phone call to set the victim up. The investigation shows the two tried to leave Thibodeaux in a dumpster, but were seen, so they moved him to the Walgreen's parking lot where the victim later died.

Detectives concluded Ellinwood was mad at Thibodeaux for having sex with Belz and another woman.

Doster remains true to the friend who she trusted to sleep with her young son.

"He was quiet. Just give the shirt off his back to anybody," Doster said. "Last dollar. He was a good dude." 

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