Bryan County D.A. to Seek Retrial in Death Sentence Reversal - - No One Gets You Closer

Bryan County D.A. to Seek Retrial in Death Sentence Reversal


BRYAN COUNTY, OK -- A Bryan County murder case from nearly 14 years ago is set to start all over again. That's because a murder conviction and death sentence have been reversed. Deeda Payton spoke to the Bryan County District Attorney about the decision.

The conviction and death penalty were upheld by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, but it was a federal court, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, that sent the case back to square one.

Ernest Eugene Phillips was convicted of the 1996 fatal stabbing of 17-year-old Roderick Jason McFail of Pilot Point, Texas.

We obtained the court records from the appeal. It states the reason for the reversal is because of the way the trial was handled by the court in Bryan County. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals believes that the evidence would have supported a verdict on both first-degree murder and the lesser offense of second-degree depraved mind murder which isn't punishable by death. "They felt that the judge should have instructed on second degree depraved mind murder because they felt that the facts warranted that the jury should have a choice on either first degree or second degree murder," said Bryan County District Attorney, Emily Redman.

Redman says she will ask for a retrial, but feels for the victim's family who will have to live through a second murder trial all over again. She says she broke the news to McFail's mother who is shocked and disappointed about how the case has turned out.

Deeda Payton, KTEN News.