Two Rockdale teens charged with capital murder in woman’s death
By Miguel Liscano
Tuesday, April 26, 2011, 12:48 PM
Milam County sheriff’s officials have charged two teens with capital murder in what they say was a home invasion that ended in a woman’s death on Monday, according to a news release.
About 5 p.m., sheriff’s deputies were called to the home of Sandra Phillips, 50, in the 7300 block of FM 486, just east of the community of San Gabriel, after her husband came home from work and found her body, Milam County Sheriff David Greene said. San Gabriel is about 50 miles northeast of Austin.
Tanner Baker and Brandon Cotton, both 18, from Rockdale, were arrested a short time later, the release said. Both men are being held at the Milam County Jail today with no bail amount set, Greene said.
The teens could face the death penalty if convicted of the crime.
Baker was found driving the woman’s vehicle at a nearby convenience store, and Cotton was arrested about an hour later at a separate convenience store.
The men are suspected of committing at least three other burglaries in the area that day, Greene said. He said the men broke into the woman’s house, shot her, burglarized her home and stole her car.
Greene said the men apparently did not know Phillips.
After their arrest, the men told investigators that they killed the woman, the release said.
Greene would not discuss further details of the case.
Other link : http://www.kvue.com/home/Rockdale-teens-confess-to-killing-Milam-County-woman-in-home-invasion-robbery-120736949.html
by NOELLE NEWTON / KVUE News
Posted on April 26, 2011 at 5:43 PM
Updated yesterday at 10:36 PM
Two teenagers have confessed to murdering a woman in a home invasion robbery. It happened in the small community of San Gabriel north of Thorndale.
Eunice Stigall and her husband traded the city life for a quiet life in Milam County three years ago.
"This is God's country,” Stigall said.
Their neighbors, Sandra and Michael Phillips, also sought that same slower pace moving there from upstate New York.
"Good Christian people, quiet, just good people to be around,” said Stigall of the Phillips.
Their peaceful existence ended Monday night when Michael, a retired police officer, came home and found his wife murdered. The family tells KVUE News she died from a gunshot wound.
Her husband also discovered that her white Ford Mustang was missing.
Shortly after, Rockdale police found Sandra Phillips' car 15 miles away at a convenience store.
Driving that stolen car was 18-year-old Tanner Baker. Police arrested him at the store.
An hour later, police located his alleged accomplice 19-year-old Brandon Cotton.
According to a news release from the Milam County Sheriff, both teens have since admitted to killing Phillips, burglarizing her home and stealing her car. They have been charged with capital murder; they face the death penalty for the crime.
Phillips was a registered nurse who worked at a local nursing home. Family members tell KVUE she did not know the teens, which is all the more puzzling to neighbors as to why the killers targeted the little yellow house.
"There are hundreds of homes in the country that are isolated like this, but they're right on the road,” Stigall said.
Phillips' husband had to be hospitalized overnight because of the shock.
Losing Sandy, as she was called, is not easy for anyone.
"We were shocked. You have a sickening feeling in your stomach,” Stigall said. "You realize how blessed you are to have your family, and you pray that the Lord will be with Michael during this time."
Cotton is currently on probation. Rockdale police say he burglarized 20 to 30 vehicles in Rockdale last fall.
Rockdale police say Baker has also been arrested for minor infractions including drug possession and driving without a license.
Photos : 1. The victim Sandra Phillips
2. The two murderers Tanner Baker (left) and Brandon Cotton