Phillips sentenced to 26 years in prison

OKANOGAN – Brent Phillips was sentenced to 26 years in prison for the murder last year of Michelle Kitterman during his sentencing hearing on Tuesday, Nov. 23 in the Okanogan County In-Jail Courtroom.

Phillips received 147 months for first degree manslaughter of Kitterman’s unborn child, 12 months for tampering with physical evidence and 96 months for first degree kidnapping.

His sentencing came after the sentencing of Lacey Kae Hirst-Pavek and was a lower sentencing because of a plea agreement he came to with the prosecution. The agreement came after pleading guilty and turning evidence against Hirst-Pavek and the other two convicted murderers, Tansy Mathis and David Richards.

Before his sentencing, his attorney, Alan White, spoke on Phillips’ behalf.

“Brent is 39 years old and has struggled with alcohol and drug use,” White said. “Within 24 hours of being charged in this crime, he requested a meeting with the detectives and met with them the next Monday and told the detectives everything. Brent said he didn’t want to speak to the family for two reasons: he said if he was in their position, he wouldn’t want to hear anything the murderer had to say and he said if he could trade places with Michelle, he would but she is in heaven and he won’t be going there.”

“No one can condone the murder of another person, however we do recognize he was the only defendant, at any time, who came forward and accepted guilt for what happened,” Prosecuting Attorney Karl Sloan said when he was recommending a sentence for Phillips to Douglas County Superior Court Judge John Hotchkiss. “Phillips is also the only defendant who agreed to testify against the others.”

Before giving Phillips his sentence, Hotchkiss spoke to him and to the Kitterman family who was gathered on the other side of the glass in the In-Jail Courtroom.

“I can’t punish, I can’t sentence, I can’t do anything to Brent Phillips that even comes close to what he has done to this family,” he said. “They will live in pain Phillips caused because he wanted to be a tough guy, because he started and wanted to continue living a life with drugs. There is true value in plea bargaining, however. He alone came forward, I know he did it to save his own rear end, but he did it and without his testimony, Mathis’ and Richards’ convictions could not have been assured.”

On Tuesday, May 11, Mathis and Richards received their sentencing for the guilty verdicts handed down on them at the end of April.

Mathis received the top range of sentencing for her crimes. On count one, aggravated murder in the first degree, Mathis received a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. On count two, first degree manslaughter of an unborn child, she received the top range of a sentence of 78 to 102 months plus an additional 24 month enhancement for possession of a deadly weapon. For count three, kidnapping in the first degree, Mathis received the top range of a sentence of 51 to 68 months plus an additional 24-month enhancement for possession of a deadly weapon. Finally, for count four, tampering with physical evidence, she received one year.

For Richards’ first count of second degree murder, he received a mid-range sentence of a 165 to 265 month sentence range, which comes to 215 months plus an additional 24-month enhancement for possession of a deadly weapon. For his conviction of manslaughter of an unborn child, Richards was sentenced a mid-range sentence from the range of 111 to 147 months plus an additional 24 month enhancement for possession of a deadly weapon.

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