LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. - It has been two days since Limestone County Deputies stopped by a county home for a welfare check and made a shocking discovery. A Tennessee man is believed to have killed his mother, Jamie Phillips, her husband, Jerry Phillips and then himself.
Deputies found three bodies; one in the backyard shed, one in the garage and a third inside the home.
There's no official record of how long 29-year-old Robert Earl Gilchrist lived with his mother and her husband in Limestone County.
He was recently released from a Tennessee prison where he served time for statutory rape.
The sentence began in January 2016 and he was expected to be released in 2025.
After being convicted of a sex crime, Gilchrist was required to register as a sex offender in Tennessee.
One Tennessee Department of Corrections official said Gilchrist was paroled and transferred to Alabama through The Interstate Compact Offender Tracking System in April 2019.
One legal expert said the decision to release him could've been for a number of reasons.
"Everybody in prison, they don't go through psychoanalysis," explained Mark McDaniels. "So what the parole board is looking at is basically what was the person in jail for, what their prior record was and the likelihood of doing this crime again."
According to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, Gilchrist failed to register as a sex offender once he transferred to Alabama.
Children live in several nearby homes on Black Road in the county.
"The fact that he was here and was not registered as a sex offender, he was in violation of his parole at that point," added McDaniel.
Failure to register is a Class C Felony.
"We don't know what happened because he killed himself," said McDaniel. "But that could've been a factor right there. It could've been a situation where somebody in the household said we're going to turn you in, you've got to go back to prison."
McDaniel said unfortunately, people fall through the cracks of the justice system every day.
He believes more effort should'Ve gone into Gilchrist's transition to life in this state.
"We don't know whether his parole officer gave him permission for him to be here, but if he did, he should've been registered as a sex offender," said McDaniel. "The parole officer in Tennessee should've been sure of that."