Bail for Hartington murder suspect set at $10 million

A judge has set $10 million bail for a Kenner, Louisiana man accused of fatally shooting a Michigan man at a construction site near Hartington on March 1.

David Phillips Jr., 20, formally charged Tuesday with second-degree murder and firearms charges, must pay 10%, or $1 million, to be released from jail. Phillips’ $10 million bail was set by Cedar County Judge Douglas Luebe on the day of the shooting.

According to an arrest affidavit, the Cedar County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call at 9:09 a.m. on March 1. Hartington.

At 9:20 am, the Cedar County Sheriff’s Deputy notified the dispatchers that Phillips had been taken into custody. A 9mm handgun, a 30-round magazine containing 22 real rounds, and a spent shell casing were found at the scene.

A conservation officer who was at the scene said the victim, Israel Matos-Colon, 31, of Fowlerville, Michigan, still had a pulse at 9:29 am but was suffering from gunshot wounds.

The conservation officer said he attempted to perform life-saving measures on Matos-Colon, but that he was out of pulse at 9:37. Matos-Colon was transported to Avera Sacred Heart Hospital in Yankton, where he was pronounced dead at 10:19 am.

Nebraska State Patrol detectives were contacted and asked to assist in the investigation of the shooting.

A witness said he saw Phillips fire a handgun at Matos-Colon. Phillips and Matos-Colon were about 7 feet apart and Matos-Colon was “trying to get away.” The witness said he saw Phillips fire four shots and heard two or three shots hit a nearby metal object.

After allegedly firing the shots, Phillips wandered off for a couple minutes before saying Matos-Colon said something about his mother. Phillips also asked others at the scene if they “(expletives) snitched” or reported him by calling the police.

A second witness told investigators that Phillips was apologizing to Matos-Colon as life-saving measures were performed. The second witness said he heard six to ten shots.

According to a third witness, Phillips asked others at the scene if they would give him a ride from work or call the police.

Investigators located six 9mm shell casings and one 9mm cartridge at the scene.

A Cedar County deputy confiscated the gun from Phillips, who reportedly had the weapon in his left pant leg.

A search of the gun’s serial number showed it was stolen outside Louisiana.

A second-degree murder conviction carries a sentence of 20 years to life in prison. In addition to the murder charge, Phillips is charged with using a firearm to commit a felony and possessing a stolen firearm, which carries up to an additional 70 years in prison.

The Nebraska Commission on Public Advocacy was named to represent Phillips. The Nebraska Attorney General’s office will pursue the case.

The preliminary hearing has been set for Wednesday 22 March.

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