Man who had standoff with police last March sentenced to prison

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William Dean, The Dominion Post, Morgantown, W.Va.
·2 min read
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Apr. 21—The convicted sex offender involved in a stand-off with police on North Willey Street in March 2020 was sentenced to prison Tuesday.

Christopher Phillips previously pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree sexual abuse and one count of prohibited person in possession of a firearm.

On Tuesday, Judge Susan Tucker followed the terms of the binding plea agreement and sentenced Phillips to 1-5 years for each of the sexual abuse charges, running them consecutively for a 3-15 year term. She also sentenced him to 3 years in prison on the firearms charge, also to be run consecutive.

Tucker denied a request by Phillips' attorney, Lance Rollo, for probation or home confinement. Rollo said he's personally noticed the change in Phillips since he started taking his medicine shortly after the incident. Phillips' wife and victim, Mary, also requested home confinement.

She said she's worked in the prison and has seen how many people in the system get lost. She said the man that was in her house last March was not her husband, but the man sitting in the courtroom was.

"When it comes to putting him in jail, I've been there. I've worked there. I've seen it. There's no way to hold them accountable because there's a lot of people that don't care, " Mary said.

However, his aunt, who recently had emergency surgery and for whom Phillips was her sole caregiver, was able to keep him in line, Mary said.

Prosecutor Perri DeChristopher opposed home confinement saying it would not provide safety to the community, make Phillips take his meds or stop him from committing another sexual offense.

She pointed out a 2001 charge that led to Phillips' conviction for third-degree sexual assault. He spent almost 12 years in prison for that charge and was registered as a lifetime sex offender as the victim was 5 or younger.

In the 2020 incident, Phillips broke into Mary's home, hid in a closet, waited until she was asleep, woke her up with a gun pointed at her to ask her about her cheating on him and sexually assaulted her, DeChristopher said.

After Mary was able to escape the home, Phillips was in a standoff with police for 90 minutes before giving himself up.