Saturday, November 10, 2007

2nd Florida man convicted in Opelika slaying

Associated Press

Jurors convicted a Florida man of capital murder in the 2004 robbery and shooting death of an Opelika man.

Michael Antonio Phillips was convicted Thursday and is expected to be sentenced to life in prison without parole in December for the shooting death of Gregory Johnson.

Prosecutors chose not to seek the death penalty after discussing that option with the victim's family, Chief Assistant District Attorney Robbie Treese said Friday.

On April 11, 2004, Johnson, 39, was shot twice, once in the chest and once in the back shoulder. He was robbed of cash and jewelry he was wearing. Treese said Johnson was a random victim.

Phillips, of Orlando, stood trial in Lee County Circuit Court before Judge Jacob A. Walker III.

A co-defendant, Joseph Bryant Royal, also of Orlando, is serving a life sentence in an Alabama prison for his part in Johnson's murder.

At the time of the murder, Phillips was 26, and Royal was 21. One of them had relatives in Opelika, authorities said.

"The Opelika Police Department did a very good job investigating this case. It was an exceptionally thorough investigation. We're very pleased with the result," Treese told the Opelika-Auburn News for a story Friday.

Investigators worked overtime to complete this case, Police Capt. Allan Elkins said, adding, "They went to multiple states interviewing witnesses."


Information from: Opelika-Auburn News

No comments: