The trial will get under way this week for a D.C. police officer accused of fatally shooting a 20-year-old woman and leaving their 1-year-old child to die in a sweltering car.
Richmond Diallo Phillips, 40, faces two counts of first-degree murder in the 2011 deaths of Wynetta Wright and her daughter, Jaylin Wright, who went missing the day before Mr. Phillips was scheduled for a child-support hearing involving the little girl.
Wright was found dead June 2, 2011, in the Oxon Run Stream Valley Park in Temple Hills. Jaylin was found dead inside her mother's Saturn Vue, which was parked about a quarter-mile away on Southern Avenue. Police surmised that the girl, who was one day shy of her first birthday on the day her body was found, had died from the severe heat inside the vehicle.
Prince George's County State's Attorney Angela Alsobrooks will prosecute the case alongside veteran homicide prosecutor Wesley Adams. The case will be the first that Ms. Alsobrooks' has personally prosecuted as the county's state's attorney since she was elected in 2010.
Motions hearings will be held in the case Monday and jury selection is expected to begin on Tuesday, said Nancy Lineman, spokeswoman for the state's attorney's office.
Mr. Phillips, an eight-year veteran of the Metropolitan Police Department who worked as a 1st District vice officer, faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. He has been in jail since his arrest.
Wright and Mr. Phillips were due in court May 31 for a paternity hearing at which Mr. Phillips would have been ordered to provide a DNA sample to determine whether he was Jaylin's father, according to Prince George's County prosecutors. Paternity tests were ultimately conducted after the deaths of Wright and Jaylin, and Mr. Phillips was proved to be the baby's father, according to court records.
The night before the paternity hearing, police said Mr. Phillips went to meet Wright in the Temple Hills park after he finished his shift. Wright told a friend they were going to talk about the upcoming hearing.
Data from both Wright's and Mr. Phillips' cellphones put them in the area of the park at the time. A surveillance camera in the parking lot also captured images of two people matching their descriptions arriving at about 11 p.m. May 30 and remaining in the area until about 6 a.m. when the figures both walk out of the camera's frame. A Ford Expedition and Wright's Saturn Vue were taped leaving the parking lot about five minutes apart.
In court documents, police did not describe who was seen driving the two cars.
Mr. Phillips' public defender Brian Denton declined to comment before the trial.
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Andrea Noble is a crime and public safety reporter for The Washington Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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