Two sentenced in 2018 double homicide

·3 min read

Aug. 30—ANDERSON — Two more defendants in the 2018 killings of David L. Phillips II and Trinity Parker have been sentenced to prison terms.

David Roberts, 40, pleaded guilty to a Level 2 felony charge of voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced Friday by Madison Circuit Court Division 6 Judge Mark Dudley to an executed 20-year sentence with the Indiana Department of Correction.

Brittany Vontress-Cox, 33, pleaded guilty to a Level 3 felony charge of aiding kidnapping with a deadly weapon and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Vontress-Cox will serve nine years of the sentence with the Indiana Department of Correction and three years on probation.

Under terms of the two plea agreements, Roberts was to be sentenced to 20 years in prison and Vontress-Cox was to receive up to a maximum nine-year sentence.

Another defendant in the double homicide, Taylor Wheeler, 25, entered into a plea agreement with the Madison County Prosecutor's office.

Wheeler is charged with a Level 1 felony count of murder and a Level 3 felony count of criminal confinement while armed with a deadly weapon.

Deputy Prosecutor Daniel Kopp said Roberts was contacted by Daniel Jones in July 2018 and offered a school bus as a place to hide out.

Roberts was wanted on a warrant at the time.

Roberts asked if Parker could hang out with him, and Jones said Parker was a "snitch."

Kopp said Jones and Jonathan Zirkle threatened Roberts with a gun and was told he had a choice between his life and Parker's.

Roberts contacted Parker and the three men picked her up at a motel in Anderson. After driving around for several hours, they took Parker to an abandoned house in Grant County.

Kopp said it was there that Jones shot Parker in the head twice.

Roberts was originally charged with murder, but the state agreed to the plea on the voluntary manslaughter charge because he was threatened with a gun.

Kopp said Vontress-Cox drove Phillips, Zirkle and Jones to the Rangeline Nature Preserve in July 2018. It was there that Jones shot Phillips.

"She provided the transportation," Kopp said. "She didn't know Phillips was going to be killed."

Jones entered a plea of guilty to two counts of murder and was sentenced by Dudley to 120 years in prison. Zirkle was found guilty of Level 1 felony aiding, inducing or causing murder in the shooting death. He was sentenced to 55 years in prison.

Phillips' partially decomposed body was found in 2018 at the Rangeline Nature Preserve by Madison County Sheriff's Department detectives. The 35-year-old Anderson man had been shot twice in the head with a .22-caliber handgun.

Two days later, Jones, who was already in custody at the Madison County Jail on an unrelated weapons charge, led investigators to an abandoned house just across the Grant County line where Parker's badly decomposed body was found.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting