YORK, S.C. -- York police have arrested the girlfriend of former Mayor Melvin Roberts in connection with his murder.

Julia Bright Phillips was arrested Tuesday and charged with first-degree murder.

(Phillips) has been a person of interest from day one -- simply because, to start off with, a lot of conflicting stories, said York Police Chief William Mobley. The information given to us was different from what the scientific evidence showed us.

Police say they have DNA and forensic evidence showing 67-year-old Phillips was involved in hitting Roberts, strangling him and shooting at him.

According to an arrest warrant, Phillips had gunshot residue on both sleeves of her blouse although she told police that her clothes had recently been cleaned and she had not fired a gun in many years.

Roberts, 78, was killed at his home on Feb. 4.

At the time, Phillips told police that a robber had tied her up at the home and bound her with duct tape. According to the arrest warrant, Phillips had duct tape on her when officers arrived, but no tape was found on her skin.

The duct taping job was very questionable, said Mobley.

Phillips called 911, saying that she had freed herself and found Roberts dead in the driveway.

Police say Roberts was hit in the head and strangled. He also had a bullet hole in the collar of his shirt.

Mobley would not comment on who fired the weapon, but said, She was in close proximity of the weapon when it was fired. The weapon has not been recovered, Mobley said.

The official cause of death was strangulation. Mobley said he did not want to comment on a motive and he would not say if investigators believe someone else was involved in the crime.

I'm not ruling anything out at this time. ... This case is not closed by any stretch of imagination, he said.

Roberts was the former mayor of York and a well-known attorney. His close friend, Eddie Lee, who is the current mayor of York, says Roberts' murder was hard on the town.

It was particularly gruesome, heinous and brutal murder and I was concerned -- not just that I'd lost a friend -- but I was concerned for our community that we had this terrible crime committed here, Lee said.

Lee, too, said he suspected Phillips from the beginning.

The story that was given on Feb. 4 did not seem to me to be really plausible or believable, Lee said.

(Reporter Michelle Boudin contributed to this report.)

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