After plea, woman will serve 30 years 8/14/2015

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 14, 2015

Donna Marie Phillips

After plea, woman will serve 30 years

By John Howell
Circuit Court Judge Smith Murphey sentenced Donna Marie Phillips, 718 Pine Lake Drive, Batesville, to 30 years without parole Monday following her open plea of guilty to statutory rape.

Simultaneously, the judge ordered dismissed without prejudice 2014 indictments against Phillips and her husband, Brian Thomas Phillips, for 12 counts that included statutory rape, sexual battery and conspiracy.

Noting in Monday’s order the original, multi-count indictment, Murphey stated, “… by way of plea negotiations as this was an Open plea after a reduction of charges by the state, the parties were permitted to present any witnesses or evidence they desired the Court to consider during a sentencing. Each party presented multiple witnesses during hours of testimony.”

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Murphrey ordered that Donna Phillips serve, “without parole, probation, early earned release, good time or trusty status.”

No additional adjudication is indicated for Brian Phillips, but the orders dismissing the 2014 cases “without prejudice” would allow the district attorney to reinstate the indictments if warranted.

Judge Murphey’s Felony Conviction Sentencing Order for Donna Marie Phillips cite the circumstances that apparently led to the strict sentencing restrictions. The Panolian does not identify victims of sex crimes.

Not that there is a dearth of victims, according to indictment files that have accumulated in the office of the Panola County Circuit Clerk since the spring. The indictments become public record when the defendant has been served with a copy.

In other cases:
• Melvin Clark Jr., 27, was indicted for statutory rape stemming from alleged intercourse on January 9 with a female under age 16.

• Jeremy Delain Mayer, 31, was indicted for statutory rape and gratifying lust following Dec. 11, 2014 incidents involving a female victim under age 16, according to an indictment handed down in April by the Panola County Grand Jury. Memphis attorney Patrick Stegall is counsel for Mayer, according to court documents.

• Chad Owen Cosby, 35 entered an Alford plea of guilty to one count of fondling a female victim under age 14. Cosby was indicted for two counts stemming from a Sept., 2014 incident. In an Alford plea the defendant maintains innocence but enters the guilty plea in the best interest of himself and his victim.
Cosby, represented by attorney Helen Kelly, was sentenced to one day’s incarceration with the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC), ten years’ post-supervision release and ordered to stay away from the victim.

 • Anthony Andrea Stanton, 34, 214 Tubbs Road, Batesville, was indicted for an alleged forcible rape that occurred in June, 2013. He is represented by attorney Tommy Defer and free on $2,500 bond awaiting trial.

• Lisa Denise Atkinson, 27, entered a negotiated guilty plea to one count of enticement of a child following indictment on three counts alleging that she used a telephone “or any other means, to entice … a child … for the purpose of engaging in sexually explicit conduct.”

Atkinson was sentenced to one day’s incarceration followed by 15 years probation during which reporting will not be required. She was ordered to have no further contact with the victims.