On Friday, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the 2007 capital murder conviction of Bobby O’Lee Phillips. The Court’s unanimous decision was returned in a 172 page opinion.
Phillips was convicted of multiple crimes committed by he and Oscar Roy Doster following their November 4, 2002, escape from the Covington County Jail. The most serious of these offenses was the shooting death of Paul LeMaster. For that shooting, Phillips, who confessed to being the “trigger man,” was convicted of three counts of capital murder and was sentenced to death following a 12-0 jury vote. Circuit Judge Charles “Lex” Short upheld and imposed the jury’s decision to punish Phillips with the death sentence.
District Attorney Greg Gambril, who was the lead prosecutor of the case, said that he is “obviously pleased” with the Court’s result. “Though it was a multiple week trial, the evidence against Mr. Phillips was very strong and Judge Short’s evidentiary and procedural rulings were all sound.”
Gambril said that he had no doubt that Phillips would appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court. “When you’re dealing with the death penalty, everyone knows that the appeals drag on for years. It’s unfortunate, but we’re patient. Justice will ultimately be rendered in Mr. Phillips’ case.”
According to Gambril, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals is still considering Oscar Roy Doster’s case even though it was tried before Phillips’ case. “When a case reaches the appellate court, it is assigned to one particular judge. Each judge moves at different speeds, so it’s not necessarily a surprise that the decision in Mr. Phillips’ case was reached first.”
Gambril also said that, according to the Texas Attorney General’s Office, Oscar Roy Doster’s capital murder trial in that state is set to begin jury selection in late July. Doster was charged with murdering Dennis Courtney in Fairfield, Texas, following a second escape from the Covington County Jail.
I Personally wish to thank the District Attorney and the Judge as well as the Jury that put this man where he so very much belongs. The days of our community being held hostage still runs deep and nightmares still abound from the heinous acts this man committed. I commend the Covington County Sheriffs Department (Current) for all the efforts and professional officers who now make sleeping much easier in our community. Eddie Lewis