$1 million bond set in murder case
DAVE MOSIER/independent editor
Van Wert Municipal Court Judge Jill Leatherman ordered a Middle Point man accused of shooting and killing a city resident held on a $1 million bond during a hearing Friday.
Chad Phillips, 31, made an initial appearance in Municipal Court Friday afternoon on a charge of attempted murder, a first-degree felony offense. More serious charges are likely, however, because Christopher McMillen, 24, the man Phillips is alleged to have shot several times, died later of wounds sustained in the shooting.
Security was tight in the small courtroom as Judge Leatherman read the charges against Phillips, set bond and scheduled a preliminary hearing in the case for Friday, May 20.
A large contingent representing friends and family of the victim, as well as friends and family of the defendant, were in court to witness the preliminary hearing, with some comments made to Phillips after the hearing was adjourned.
Assistant County Prosecutor Kevin Taylor, who requested the high bond, “given that it was alleged that a weapon was used, and a person has died,” said it’s unlikely that a preliminary hearing would be necessary. Prosecutors plan to convene a special session of the Van Wert County Grand Jury next Friday morning to seek an indictment, likely on a charge of murder.
Local attorney Dillon Staas was appointed to represent Phillips through the Public Defenders’ Office.
Van Wert County sheriff’s deputies had arrested Phillips at a Middle Point residence Thursday night, after he reportedly fled from an apartment at Fox Run Apartments, 150 Fox Road, earlier in the evening. According to police reports, Phillips allegedly shot McMillen several times while the two were in apartment 2-H at the Fox Run complex.
Police were called soon after and responded quickly to the scene, although Phillips had left by the time officers arrived. Van Wert Fire Department EMS medics were also called to provide treatment to McMillen before transporting him to Van Wert County Hospital.
McMillen was life-flighted to Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne, Ind., after receiving additional treatment at the local hospital.
Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers were also involved in the shooting investigation, while technicians from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation were also called in to help process the crime scene.
Following Phillips’ arrest, deputies secured that residence until city detectives could obtain a warrant to search the house for evidence related to the case.