Sunday, July 15, 2012
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ALBANY, Ga. -- Because a misfiled piece of paper never made it to the defense attorney, a man serving life in prison faces a jury again, said a Dougherty County court official.
"I doubt that the new trial will have any other outcome than the original trial," said Dougherty County District Attorney Greg Edwards. "But the appeals court says we must have a new trial."
At stake is whether Michael Phillips walks free or is taken back to prison for life. Phillips and Silas Jackson were found guilty in May 2007 of a series of armed robberies during 2005 in the Lake Park area.
Jackson got 45 years. Phillips because of three past felony convictions caught two consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole.
At the time Superior Court Judge Goss said, he gave such lengthy sentences because of the "extremely violent" nature of the crimes.
The Georgia Court of Appeals granted Phillips a new trial because the defense attorneys never received a copy of a witness statement, Edwards said. The statement was probably misfiled, he added.
Edwards said that "the statement was the same testimony that was given in court by the witness." But rules are rules and Edwards said his team is ready to begin picking a jury today and try the case again.