Crime & Courts

Testimony ends in Derby AT&T attempted murder trial

Julie Dombo testifies about getting shot during robbery

Julie Dombo was shot while inside an AT&T retail store in Derby in August of 2015. The trauma from the shooting resulted in the amputation of her hands and feet. On Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016, she testified in the trial of James Michael Phillips, who
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Julie Dombo was shot while inside an AT&T retail store in Derby in August of 2015. The trauma from the shooting resulted in the amputation of her hands and feet. On Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016, she testified in the trial of James Michael Phillips, who

Witness testimony and evidence presentation ended Friday in the trial of a man accused of shooting Julie Dombo during a robbery attempt at a Derby AT&T store last year.

Jurors tasked with deciding James Michael Phillips’ fate opted to go home over the weekend after closing arguments stretched into late Friday afternoon. Sedgwick County District Judge Joe Kisner told them to return to court Monday morning.

Deliberations will begin then.

Phillips, 27, is charged with attempted first-degree murder in connection with Dombo’s shooting on Aug. 11, 2015, attempted capital murder for allegedly firing at a Derby police officer after fleeing the store, and seven other felony counts. He acted as his own lawyer during the trial.

In a Sedgwick County courtroom on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016, not only did Julie Dombo have to face the man accused of shooting her in August of 2015, but she had to take questions from him. James Michael Phillips is acting as his own attorney during

Prosecutors say Phillips went into the cellphone branch, at Rock Road and Madison, armed with a handgun, several pairs of handcuffs, gloves, zip ties and a plan to control and manipulate the two employees inside until they handed over high-end smartphones in the store’s safe. Dombo, a then 61-year-old retired guidance counselor who was in the store getting her cellphone fixed, refused to follow Phillips’ commands and was shot twice as she tried to escape.

Doctors amputated parts of her four limbs to save her life. She spent 114 days in the hospital.

Phillips in court has painted the robbery plot as an attempt to provide for his family. While questioning witnesses and during his closing arguments Friday, he repeatedly contended he didn’t intend to kill Dombo or Derby police officer Larry Hampton. He’s also accused prosecutors of fabricating their case against him.

Sedgwick County Assistant District Attorney Ann Swegle, meanwhile, urged jurors to focus on Phillips’ actions during the shooting rather than his claims at trial.

She asked them to hand down guilty verdicts on all counts.

“Maybe he didn’t plan it to go this way,” she said during closing arguments. “But that does not mean that every act that he took when things started going bad was not an intentional act.”

Amy Renee Leiker: 316-268-6644, @amyreneeleiker

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