Teenaged Murder Suspect Pleads Guilty to Killing Father - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Teenaged Murder Suspect Pleads Guilty to Killing Father

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Preston Phelps pleaded guilty to 3 charges including Malice Murder Preston Phelps pleaded guilty to 3 charges including Malice Murder
CHATHAM COUNTY, GA -

By his own admission, Preston Phelps killed his father.  

And Wednesday, instead of fighting the charges, Phelps admitted to the crime.

Brutal may be an understatement to describe the things investigators say were done to Thomas Phelps by his then 14 year old son.

Those details, in all their horror, were read out in court, in front of the teen who now admits to what he did.

Normally a 16 year old should be in a school uniform on a Wednesday.

But Preston Phelps uniform on this day is an orange jumpsuit and shackles.

The teen coming into court to confess to murder.

Before he finished, prosecutors read out the sometimes gruesome aspects of the crime.

It was in September of 2012, Preston Phelps called his aunt, asking her to come over saying his mother was sick.

When Deborah Turner arrived, she found Preston, and what was left of his father Thomas Phelps in the garage.

"Anticipating a wrecked car, Turner was shocked to see Thomas. He lay on the ground, on his back with a laceration to his stomach, a big gash on his leg, and it looked like a finger had been cut off."

Preston had cut off his father's finger, and tried to burn off of the other fingerprints to make him impossible to identify.

Preston told his aunt he "snapped".

Later police say they heard him telling his mother it started when he had to look for a pipe for his father.

"Preston said he showed his dad where the pipe had been discarded in the bushes. Thomas grabbed it and tried to like hit me with it. Preston grabbed the pipe and hit Thomas in the back of the head. Preston claims to have blacked out then. He did remember seeing his father sprawled out on the floor, one of his organs hanging out."

But the pipe was far from Preston's only weapon, according to detectives.

"The individual stab wounds were inflicted by pointed instruments, in sized wounds caused by sharp edged instruments, chop wounds caused by the likes of a hatchet or an axe."

"Multiple parallel chops to the arm and leg. There were also chops to the back of the head penetrating the skull as well as the burning of body parts which were likely inflicted post-mortem."

The burning, Preston says, was his mother's idea, who told him to get rid of Thomas' fingerprints.

But on this day, Preston was all alone, standing in front of a judge, ready to pay for his crime.

"How do you plead to these charges, guilty or not guilty?"
"Guilty"
"Are you in fact guilty?"
"Yes Sir"

For a guilty plea to malice murder, aggravated assault and tampering evidence, Preston Phelps received a sentence of life in prison with a chance for parole in 30 years.

He is now also expected to testify against his mother, Judith.

Judith Phelps is accused of concealing her husband's murder, tampering with evidence and making false statements.
 
Her trial is expected to begin Monday in a Chatham County court.

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