Police from across Jackson County searched for Phillips on Truax Road Nov. 11, 2014. [ Mail Tribune file photo]

Man pleads to manslaughter in wife's shooting

A man faces a decade in prison after admitting to shooting his wife to death in 2014 outside Central Point.

Wade Eugene Phillips, 45, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Jackson County Circuit Court to first-degree manslaughter in the death of his wife, Cynthia Michelle Phillips, 37, and three counts of unlawful use of a weapon for endangering three children who were in the house at the time.

Jackson County sheriff's deputies found Phillips dead about 9 a.m. on Nov. 11, 2014, in the 6500 block of Truax Road, after 911 dispatchers took a report of shots fired and injury. A door-to-door search in the neighborhood followed, which utilized a Jackson County sheriff's office SWAT team and an Oregon State Police robot and lasted well into the afternoon until deputies found Phillips hiding in a corner of his attic.

Until earlier this week, Phillips had faced a single murder count and three attempted-murder charges, all of which were dropped, according to court records. A trial had been set for next week.

Court records showed that prosecutors had intended to use recorded statements from child witnesses during the trial. Wade and Cynthia Phillips' child and two other children were named as victims in the charges of unlawful use of a weapon.

Records also showed that at one point Phillips intended to use an insanity defense, according to a document filed by his lawyer Justin Rosas.

In November 2016, Phillips was transferred from the Jackson County Jail to the Oregon State Hospital in Salem, where he underwent a psychological evaluation.

The state hospital's 33-page report, filed last February, is sealed in court records. A psychologist at the state hospital had been subpoenaed as an expert witness in the trial, case filings show.

Phillips will be sentenced Tuesday. Under Oregon's Measure 11 mandatory-minimum sentencing law, first-degree manslaughter carries a minimum sentence of 120 months.

— Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.


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