Phelps Attend Motion Hearing As Trial Nears - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Phelps Attend Motion Hearing As Trial Nears

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SAVANNAH, GA -

Motions hearing Tuesday for a murder case set to come to trial in less than a month. Teenager Preston Phelps accused of killing his father, his mother Judith, accused of trying to help cover it up. Judith and Preston Phelps entered the courtroom and sat just feet apart as attorneys argued what should and should not be admissible in court during their trial. Much of the arguments centered on statements made by those who claim to know the family and the relationship between the three.

The prosecution wants statements admitted that seem to paint Preston as the aggressor. Chatham County Assistant District Attorney Ann Elmore says, "We have actual witnesses to statements by the parties and what the witnesses actually saw in terms of injuries that were inflicted by Preston upon Judith. Your honor - the state would respectfully submit that that is relevant conduct - it's intrinsic in this case."

The defense is calling many of those statements hearsay - including alleged confidences shared by victim Thomas Phelps with a friend just weeks before his death. Preston Phelps' attorney David Burns says, "It's hearsay and it's not a dying declaration, so there's not an exception for it to be admitted - so we would have any statements by Grago - for him to say what Thomas Phelps told him weeks before the incident excluded from trial." Elmore argued, "Your honor - that isn't in this motion and that goes to the state of feeling between the parties - he was afraid to be in his own home, he locked his own bedroom door against his son."

The defense for Judith Phelps expected to present evidence that she suffers from battered person syndrome and painting the victim as a potential aggressor. Burns said, "We are investigating judge. I've been informed that Mr. Phelps may have thrown his first wife down the stairs." Thomas Phelps was found dead in the garage of the family's Talahi Island home September 2nd last year.

The trial is set to begin December 2nd and is expected to take at least a week. Judge Timothy Walmsley says he will issue rulings on the motions as soon as possible.

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