A Delaware man will get life in prison for the 2012 Eden Park shooting in Wilmington which left a man and a teenager dead.
Jeffrey Phillips sobbed as he apologized to the families of the victims and begged for forgiveness during the penalty phase of the murder trial which has lasted nearly two months.
“The one day you’d like to take back but you can’t,” that’s how Phillips described the day of July 8, 2012 to the group of jurors.
The jury had already convicted Phillips of first degree murder for the death of Herman Curry and manslaughter for the death of Alexander Kamara. They came back with a 10-2 vote in favor of life in prison after more than two hours of deliberation.
Earlier this month, the jury recommended death for 38-year-old Otis Phillips, the other man accused of gunning down Curry and Kamara at a soccer tournament at Eden Park more than two years ago.
Prosecutors argued that the men were out for revenge when they shot and killed Curry, who was a soccer coach and had organized the event, because he had witnessed a murder allegedly committed by Otis Phillips in 2008.
Kamara, a 16-year-old soccer player, was killed in the crossfire.
Emotions ran high during closing arguments Thursday as family members of Jeffrey Phillips and Herman Curry filled the courtroom.
Phillips sat with his head down as his mother began to cry while giving testimony.
“Every day I cry,” she said. “I cry about my son.”
The defense explained that Phillips, now 23 years old, had a hard time adjusting to the United States from the extreme poverty he endured growing up in his native country of Jamaica.
He had only been in the U.S. for about a year and had started hanging out with a local group of men who shared his taste in music. The defense said Phillips was easily influenced by his peers because he had suffered a brain injury at some point in his life.
The prosecution said the group of men that Phillips associated with wasn’t an innocent music group but rather a violent street gang known as the “Sure Shots.”
Prosecutors argued that Phillips was well aware of what he was getting into and ignored warnings from family members and friends who advised him not to associate with the group.
They said he went to Eden Park with Otis Phillips to satisfy the gang.
“It wasn’t personal for him, it was business,” said Prosecutor John Downs.
Judge Calvin Scott will use the jury’s decision from both cases to formally sentence both Jeffrey Phillips and Otis Phillips.