Law enforcement officials have confirmed that a woman convicted in the 2010 murder of her boyfriend former York Mayor Melvin Roberts has now died while serving her life prison sentence.
72-year-old Julia Phillips had been in the state’s prison system since 2013, when a jury convicted her of accessory to murder. York Police did not believe Phillips’s testimony that an intruder had tied her and Roberts up before strangling the former mayor. Investigators believed she invented the story and killed Roberts because he was about to break up with her.
York Police believe Phillips had an accomplice who strangled Roberts, but have never identified the second suspect or made any further arrests. Police Chief Andy Robinson told the Rock Hill Herald the case remains open six years later.
Phillips had been appealing her conviction at the time of her death, arguing she was scapegoated because police could not find Roberts’ true killer.
Department of Corrections officials have not given a cause of death. Prison records show no discipline issues for Phillips and that she had been a wardkeeper with cleaning duties.