In 2008, a jury convicted Phillips of killing 19-year old Jeremiah Maclin. He was sentenced to 35-years in prison.
Phillips appealed on the grounds certain testimony should have been inadmissible. Shaunessy Grimes testified at Phillips' trial, that he owned the murder weapon, but that when he handed the rifle to Phillips, Grimes expected Phillips to shoot into the air.
Instead, Phillips fired toward Maclin. Grimes was convicted of first degree murder in 2007 and sentenced to 35-years in prison.