Investigators Exhume Body Of Suspect's Husband

Updated:

GAFFNEY, S.C.,None - Julia Phillips, 66, who is facing murder charges in the death of her boyfriend, is expected in court in Gaffney on Wednesday. She's fighting to stay in the house she's been living in off and on for more than a decade.

VIDEO: Investigators Exhume Body Of Suspect's Husband

Phillips is charged in the death of 79-year-old Melvin Roberts. Roberts was found strangled to death outside his York home on Feb. 4. Phillips called 911 to report the crime, but police said she made up the story she told them about being attacked and robbed.

Phillips was arrested and charged with Roberts' murder on May 18. The next day, concerns came to light about her late husband, who died in June 1999.

Two daughters of Edward Bryant Phillips went to the Cherokee County coroner after Julia Phillips' arrest and said they had concerns about their father's death.

Coroner Dennis Fowler exhumed Edward Phillips' body on Monday.

"First thing I want to know if I exhume his body is, ‘Will I be able to get some things I'm looking for?" Fowler said.

He didn't say what specifically he was hoping to find, but said it will take a month or more to get any concrete results back.

"I did a complete autopsy," he said. "Previously, there had not been on autopsy on Mr. Phillips' body."

Though it's been more than a decade since his death, a pathologist told Fowler it was still possible to get valuable information from the body if it was there to find.

Phillips' two daughters have also filed a complaint, requesting that a probate judge remove Julia Phillips and her son from the house where their father lived.

In court documents, the daughters allege that Phillips has neglected the property on Overbrook Drive, that they have always paid the taxes and insurance on it, and that as a suspect in a murder, Phillips should not be living there.

They also object to Julia Phillips' son, Hunter Stephens, living in the house, and claim he has for at least two years.

Probate Judge Joshua Queen is expected to hear arguments in the case Wednesday.

At this point, Julia Phillips is the only person charged in Roberts' killing. York police said the case is still open and under investigation.

Phillips was released from jail on bond Saturday. She's on house arrest, and is prohibited from leaving Cherokee County.

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