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Woodbury man sentenced to life for killing wife as her kids watched movie

Bring Me The News logo Bring Me The News 7/5/2022 Tommy Wiita
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A jury found McKinley J. Phillips, 40, guilty in less than 24 hours last week in Washington County.

A Woodbury man has been found guilty of killing his wife and will serve life in prison.

Last week, a jury found 40-year-old McKinley J. Phillips guilty of first-degree murder and second-degree murder for the fatal stabbing of his wife, 42-year-old Shavon Phillips. It happened in the basement of their home last summer while the woman's six children were watching a movie upstairs.

According to Washington County Attorney Kevin Magnuson, jury deliberations began Thursday afternoon and a verdict was reached by Friday morning.

“The life sentence without the possibility of release imposed by Judge Freeman was necessary in this case,” Magnuson said in a statement. “I hope the conviction secured today brings some level of justice to the victim’s family as they navigate the horrific and senseless loss of a remarkable woman.”

Phillips was also denied a motion for a new trial, according to court documents. In addition, restitution totaling $7,500 was ordered to be paid to the Minnesota Crime Victims Reparations Board to aid with costs of Shavon Phillips' funeral.

What happened

In the morning hours of June 25, 2021, Phillips admitted to beating and stabbing his wife to death in the basement of their home on the 7500 block of Steepleview Road, doing so while Shavon Phillips' six children were upstairs watching a movie.

He was arrested on June 26 after investigators found him attempting to travel from Minneapolis to Chicago on a Greyhound bus. Phillips was taken into custody in Monroe County, Wisconsin, Bring Me The News previously reported.

The criminal complaint says Phillips admitted to killing his wife because he thought she was cheating on him with an old boyfriend. Phillips said he punched her multiple times in the face and then stabbed her "a lot" of times in the back with a pocket knife, the charges state. 

He said the children, ranging in age from 5 to 15, were unaware of the incident. He then went upstairs, told his son goodbye and that he would never see him again, according to the criminal complaint.

Phillips abandoned his car at a shopping center in St. Paul before he left on the bus to Chicago. 

When officers later arrested Phillips, he was wearing clothing that was "covered in what appeared to be blood splatter," and he had cuts and bruising on his hands, according to investigators.

The Ramsey County Medical Examiner said the 42-year-old victim died from multiple sharp force injuries to her chest, back and neck, and blunt force trauma to her brain.

Woodbury police had been called the house three times in the past two months for domestic-related concerns, according to the complaint. Police noted that Phillips "appeared to be intoxicated and was hostile to the officers" during the previous incidents.

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