Verdict reached in Phillips theft, ethics violations case

Phillips testifies on her own behalf Wednesday.
Phillips testifies on her own behalf Wednesday.

Andalusia, Al (WSFA) - Former Covington County probate judge Sherrie Phillips learned her fate in a courtroom Wednesday afternoon.

The jury deliberated for just 35 minutes before coming back with guilty verdicts of Theft by Deception and Theft 1st Degree.

However, Circuit Judge Charles Price then told the jury that Phillips can't be found guilty of the same crime twice and ordered them back into deliberation. Ten minutes later the jury returned with verdicts of Theft by Deception and using her office for personal gain.

Phillips was accused of taking money from the estate of Cary Douglas Piper, who had no known heirs, before using the 1.8 million dollars for personal gain.

Prosecutors say she used the money to buy a $60,000 Cadillac Escalade SUV, and make home improvements and loans to relatives.  Phillips' attorneys counter that the money was later paid back plus interest. Click here to read more about the transactions.

"Disappointed in the verdict," was the response Phillips gave afterwards. She thanked the jury for their deliberations and apologized to the citizens of Covington County. She then said she and her lawyers believed there were issues they would probably appeal.

Each count could cost Phillips between 2-20 years in prison. Her attorney, Riley Powell, says he will ask for probation citing her 30 years of public service and lack of criminal history.

Sherrie Phillips is out of jail on bond awaiting her November 12th sentencing hearing.