Break-in made at scene of double-murder, suicide

Bishop

Speight

JACKSON COUNTY

 Two South Mississippi residents jailed on burglary and fraud charges are accused of breaking into a home in Gulf Hills just days after an apparent double-murder and suicide occurred there, Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd said.

Sheriff’s investigators arrested Patrick Clay Bishop, 36, of the 13300 block of Roxbury Place, Gulfport, and Shannon Cherie Speight, 39, of the 6500 block of Shore Drive, this week, Byrd said. They are charged with one count each of burglary and credit card fraud.

Sheriff’s Department Capt. Mick Sears said investigators made the arrests Tuesday or Wednesday.

Afterward, the two were taken to the Jackson County jail pending a bond hearing.

Sheriff’s Deputy Anthony Cooley discovered the break-in while doing a check of the Shore Drive home on Jan. 12, a day after the discovery of the bodies of wheelchair-bound James Phillips, 76, and his wife, Joann, 75, along with their son, Samuel Joseph Phillips.

An autopsy showed that the family had been dead at least two days before their bodies were discovered.

Byrd said investigators later determined that Samuel Phillips had killed his parents and then shot himself.

Investigators ruled the deaths a double-murder and suicide, though evidence in the case will be presented to a Jackson County jury, which will ultimately make that ruling.

When Cooley went to check the home, Byrd said he discovered that the suspects entered the home after kicking in a back door.

The suspects are accused of stealing various credit cards and property, including a gun and other items, which Byrd said have since been recovered and returned to the rightful owners.

Speight was a neighbor of the victims.

By MARGARET BAKER – mbbaker@sunherald.com

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