It took a Scioto County jury less than two hours Wednesday evening to decide that Chad J. Phillips was guilty of murdering his mother when he beat her and strangled her.
The jury found Phillips guilty on all charges — murder, aggravated murder, felonious assault and domestic violence.
Judge Howard Harcha immediately sentenced Phillips to life in prison, without the possibility of parole for 30 years. Defense’s plea for leniency and to consider Phillips’ cooperative behavior during the past 15 months he was in custody did not dissaude Harcha’s sentencing.
The three-day trial concluded at 6:20 p.m. Wednesday when the jury returned a guilty verdict on all charges, then proceeded directly to sentencing.
Phillips, 40, murdered his 64-year-old mother, Loretta Halcomb, on Nov. 21, 2016, at her home in West Portsmouth. The murder weapon was identified as a walking stick, which was used by Phillips to beat his mother, before forcing her through a wooden porch railing at the home and strangling her.
Despite best efforts from his defense attorney, Gene Meadows, who pointed out what he thought to be visable flaws in testimony and detectives’ evidence, the jury deliberated for less than 2 hours before returning with a guilty verdict.
The trial, which got under way Monday with jury selection and opening statements, featured a full slate of testimony on both Tuesday and Wednesday.
It was that evidence and testimony presented by police officers and EMTs that sealed Phillips’ fate.
When first responders arrived at the West Portsmouth residence almost 15 months ago, they found Phillips unconscious in the backyard, covered in blood. When Phillips regained consciousness, paradmedic Michael Melvin said Phillips began “speaking in tongues,” and “proceeded to tell me if I didn’t repent unto him, he would kill me like he did his mother.”
Phillips was jailed and held under a $250,000 bond, charged with his mother’s murder.
Scioto County Sheriff Marty V. Donini said his office received a 911 call at 3:24 p.m. on Nov. 21, 2016, from the supervisor over the Washington Nile bus drivers, reporting that one of his bus drivers observed a male lying in the back yard of a residence on Haig Avenue.
Donini told The Daily Times in an exclusive interview at the time that “the crime scene was a mess.” His investigation determined that Phillips “may have used a wooden object such as a cane,” and that “the whole event may have begun inside the house and ended up outside the house” where several wooden spindles of the porch railing were broken out.
“It appears, based on the crime scene and based on statements from the suspect, that the suspect just basically lost it and, unfortunately, beat his mother to death,” Donini said.
According to a sheriff’s department report filed in Portsmouth Municipal Court, Phillips confessed that he didn’t recall how many times he hit his mother. He said he was sorry, but said he was doing God’s will, according to the report.
Reach : Ivy Potter (740) 353-3101 Extension 1932