- Associated Press - Thursday, July 7, 2016

YORK, S.C. (AP) - A woman convicted on accessory charges in the death of a former South Carolina mayor has died in prison.

York Police Chief Andy Robinson told The Herald of Rock Hill (https://bit.ly/29pcJIG) that Julia Phillips, 72, died Wednesday. Robinson did not know how she died.

Phillips was sentenced to life in prison 2013 on an accessory to murder charge in the death of 79-year-old former York Mayor Melvin Roberts.

Phillips was convicted after prosecutors said she made up a phony story of being attacked when Roberts was killed in 2010.

Prosecutors say Phillips was Roberts’ former girlfriend and developed a scheme to kill him to try to secure her financial future when Roberts was about to break up with her.

York police continue to look for the person or people who helped Phillips with the plot.

“We have never stopped investigating the case and will not end it now with the death of Ms. Phillips,” Robinson said.

Phillips denied involvement in the killing and said she was attacked at the same time Roberts was strangled after he was beaten over the head and shot at.

Police and prosecutors did not believe her version of what happened. She was arrested in May 2010 and spent three years under house arrest after admitting to stealing money from Roberts.

Phillips appealed her conviction claiming that York police were eager to find a scapegoat and pinned the crime on her. Her appeal was to be heard later this year.

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Information from: The Herald, https://www.heraldonline.com


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