Man Sentenced To Life In Prison For Murdering Aunt
OKLAHOMA CITY - A convicted killer apologized Friday night for murdering his aunt back in February of 2012.
Phillip Potts pleaded guilty Friday for the killing and was sentenced to life without parole.
Investigators say Potts used an ax, brick, table legs, and even a knife to kill his aunt before he tried to blow up her house as part a suicide pact made with his girlfriend.
Due to recent discrepancies at the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board, prosecutors are taking extra steps to make sure his life without parole sentence means what it says.
As Potts asked his family for forgiveness, Angela Hemphill-Foster refused to pardon his actions and says neither should the courts.
"I stood up for my momma. She deserved justice and that's what she got," Hemphill-Foster said.
In February of 2012, detectives found Violet Hemphill with a pillow case over her head and multiple weapons next to her badly beaten body. Investigators say Potts brutally killed his aunt following an argument.
It is one of several reasons Hemphill-Foster fought to put Potts in prison for life.
"If he harms a loved one, he would be out there harming someone else and that's not going to happen. And we made sure of that today," Hemphill-Foster said.
Potts received life without parole and waived his rights to an appeal, but following recent allegations claiming the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board holds a secret docket to release ineligible inmates from prison early, Foster became worried.
"She was in tears when she talked to us about it and it's very disheartening," Suzanne Lavenue, a prosecutor working for the Oklahoma County District Attorney's Office, said. "After everybody agrees for life without parole, the [Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board] have actually in the past tried to modify that."
So, the Oklahoma County District Attorney's Office created a new waiver specifically restricting Potts from having his sentences changed by the parole board, providing confidence to a murder victim's family and certainty to the convict.
Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater says the new waiver is something his office will use for all homicide cases and will consider it for all cases due to the accusations against the board.