Family Of Phillips' Late Husband Wants Her Out Of House


GAFFNEY, S.C.,None - Julia Phillips was not in court Wednesday as two lawyers argued over where the 66-year-old murder suspect should be allowed to live.

VIDEO: Family Of Phillips' Late Husband Wants Her Out Of House

Since the February death of her boyfriend, 79-year-old attorney Melvin Roberts, Phillips has moved back into her former husband's home in Gaffney.

Bryant Phillips was married to Julia when he died in June 1999. His will allowed her to stay in the home on Overbrook Drive until her own death or remarriage.

Phillips was charged with Roberts' murder in mid-May. After that, Bryant Phillips' children raised concerns about the manner in which their father died 11 years ago. The coroner exhumed Bryant Phillips' body Monday for testing to determine if foul play was involved.

At the same time, his daughters, Lori Gaffney and Angela Shaheen filed a motion demanding that Phillips and her son, Hunter Stephens, be evicted from the house.

On Wednesday, probate judge Joshua Queen heard arguments on both sides. The attorney representing the family's trust alleged that Julia Phillips has not kept up the property, has sold items from the home that belonged to her late husband's trust, and didn't even live there for a decade while she was dating Roberts.

Attorney David Massey said the murder charge against Julia Phillips and the forensic analysis now under way on her late husband's body are reason enough to evict her from the home.

"These are desperate people," Massey said. "Their circumstances are unraveling."

But Phillips' attorney, Charles Marchbanks, reminded the courtroom that she hasn't been convicted of anything.

"These are unproven allegations, speculation and hearsay," he said.

Marchbanks also expressed concern about Phillips' bond terms. She is currently on GPS monitoring and is not allowed to leave Cherokee County.

"She is under house arrest and the location of the house arrest is this house," he said.

If Phillips is removed from the home, her bond will have to be altered, and new restrictions may have to be put in place.

The judge did not make a decision Wednesday, telling the court he'd rule on the matter at a later date.

While Phillips awaits that decision, she can remain in her late husband's Gaffney home.

Previous Stories: June 15, 2010: Investigators Exhume Body Of Suspect's Husband May 19, 2010: Police Say Girlfriend Of Prominent Attorney Staged Crime Scene February 5, 2010: Prominent York Attorney Found Slain