YORK COUNTY, S.C. -- Three people took the stand Wednesday in the Julia Phillips murder trial, but the most compelling part of the morning session was a taped interview with the defendant taken after York police came to Melvin Roberts’ house and found him dead with a zip tie around his neck.
Police said that they spoke with the 79-year-old’s longtime girlfriend Phillips for five hours at police headquarters.
In the interview, Phillips laughs and makes jokes. She also gave various descriptions of the man who she said assaulted her and duct taped her and attacked Melvin Roberts.
Roberts, Phillips' boyfriend at the time, was also a former mayor of the City of York.
Phillips was inside her Ford Explorer the night Roberts died.
Phillips says when she arrived at the house that night, a man grabbed her from behind. She called 911 saying he grabbed her, duct taped her hands and mouth, and then, according to Phillips, laid in wait for Roberts to arrive.
"He had to have known Melvin had money,” Phillips is heard saying on the taped interview. "I heard Melvin curse and I knew that man was trying to hurt him because I heard something like a pipe, or something that somebody picked up."
During the interview, which lasts for at least five hours, there are moments when it appears that Phillips starts to cry. But as interviewing officer Lt. Dale Edwards said, "I zoomed in (the camera because) there were no tears."
There are still a few more hours of the video that the court will watch Thursday.
The state said that they still have several witnesses to call to the stand.