Dated 3/8/2018 Released 3/13/2018
Mark Kuhn, Scioto County Prosecutor announced today that Scioto County Court of Common Pleas Judge Howard H. Harcha, III sentenced a West Portsmouth man Wednesday to Life in prison with no possibility of parole for at least 30 years, for the November 21, 2016 Aggravated Murder of Lori Halcomb of West Portsmouth, Ohio. A Common Pleas Court jury convicted Chad J. Phillips, age 38, of Haig Avenue, West Portsmouth, Ohio, for one count of Aggravated Murder and lesser charges.
The case stemmed from actions of a Washington-Nile school bus driver who noticed a man, later identified as Phillips, laying in the front yard while the student she had dropped off was sitting on the porch of the residence. The bus driver became concerned when she did not see the child’s grandmother and custodian Lori Halcomb. The bus driver told the child to enter the house and find his grandmother. Shortly after the child came running around the side of the house screaming that he had found his grandmother, covered in blood. The school bus driver took the child to safety, while school authorities called 911.
Scioto County Sherriff Detectives Dan Malone and Matt Spencer were called out to investigate the incident during the afternoon of November 21, 2016. Deputies took Phillips into custody while he was transported to Southern Ohio Medical Center for examination, and then transported him to the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office where he was interviewed as to his involvement in his mother’s death.
Investigators were able to collect a considerable amount of physical, blood and DNA evidence from the crime scene. Detectives were also able to collect as evidence a letter written by Phillips that indicated he would ‘see you both’ in heaven in two (2) days. Detectives Malone and Spencer were assisted in the investigation by other Detectives and Deputies of the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office and Special Agent Shane Hanshaw of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation. Following his interview Chad Phillips was charges with the death of this mother on November 21, 2016.
The Jury heard three days of testimony and deliberated two (2) hours before rendering a guilty verdict. The Prosecution’s case was presented by Assistant Prosecutor Shane A. Tieman and Prosecutor Mark E. Kuhn. Judge Harcha immediately sentenced Phillips and ordered him transported to the custody of the Ohio Department of Rehabiitations and Corrections.