Guilty plea from murder suspect

Brent L. Phillips G-T File Photo

Brent L. Phillips G-T File Photo

OKANOGAN – With his trial set to begin next month, Brent L. Phillips changed his plea on Monday, March 29 to guilty to Premeditated Murder in the First Degree, Manslaughter of a Quick Child in the First Degree, Tampering with Physical Evidence and Kidnapping in the First Degree.

Phillips’ plea is part of a bargain with the State of Washington which lowered his charge of Aggravated Murder in the First Degree to Premeditated Murder in the First Degree and lowered the maximum sentence of 50 years in prison to the state’s recommendation of 312 months, or 26 years, in prison. In exchange, Phillips has agreed to testify truthfully against Tansy Fae Arwen Mathis, David Eugene Richards and Lacey Hirst-Pavek.

“This has been a long process and a difficult process,” Allen White, co-defense attorney, said. “It’s rare there is a guilty plea to these serious charges but we believe it is in [Phillips’] best legal interest.”

By pleading guilty, Phillips has given up his right to contest the charges against him or to appeal the sentence. This is the second strike against Phillips; he has an Assault in the Second Degree from 1998, a Burglary in the Second Degree charge in 2003 and an Assault in the Third Degree in 2006.

The judge does not have to follow the state’s recommendation for sentencing of Phillips as long as he remains with the standard sentencing range for his crimes. Phillips is to be sentenced on Tuesday, May 11 at 2:15 p.m. and the previous bail amount of $1 million has been revoked so he is now being held without bail.

The trials for Mathis and Richards, who have been consolidated into one trial, are set to begin on Tuesday, April 6. The trial for Hirst-Pavek is also set to begin on April 6.