COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — Despite the attempted escape of a Tuscumbia man charged with murder and abuse of a corpse, a judge has ruled his bond won’t be revoked – but the District Attorney aims to change that.
Marlan Odell Phillips is accused of stabbing his “significant other” Jennifer Parrish to death in a gruesome scene in August 2022 inside a home the two shared.
A $500,000 bond was set for Phillips following a November indictment. One of the mandatory conditions of that bond was that he not commit any new criminal offenses.
Phillips is currently being housed at the Cullman County Detention Center due to housing issues at the Colbert County Jail, but Colbert County District Attorney Hal Hughston told News 19 that Phillips recently tried to escape from the facility.
Lt. Chad Whaley with the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office confirmed with News 19 that Phillips tried to break out of jail in December. Whaley said Phillips jammed something into the mechanism of his cell door to prevent it from locking.
Phillips then accessed an unauthorized area via an electrical panel, Whaley explained. Shortly after deputies realized he was missing, they were able to find him hiding in that area and lock him back down.
Because of that incident, Phillips now faces an additional escape charge and was given a $10,000 bond in Cullman County.
District Attorney Hughston commended Cullman County, saying they did an excellent job by not allowing Phillips to escape the jail.
Hughston said the state has now filed a motion asking for Phillips’ $500,000 bond to be revoked, stating that “such a release will not reasonably assure the Defendant’s appearance as required, or that the defendant’s being at large will pose a real and present danger to others or to the public at large.”
The prosecution is expected to ask the court for either no bond or to set the maximum amount allowed by law, Hughston said, adding that it should be of “utmost” importance to keep violent offenders off the streets.
According to online court records, the Tuscumbia Police Department (TPD) went into the home Parrish and Phillips shared, where they found Parrish lying on the floor with a “large amount of blood around her body,” court documents state. She was not showing any signs of life.
Sergeant Senkbeil with the TPD’s Criminal Investigation Division said he started looking over Parrish’s body. He reported that he found “multiple stab wounds to the back, hands, chest and face” of the 33-year-old woman. Senkbeil then detailed the vicious extent of the injuries to Parrish’s body, which News 19 has decided not to describe here due to their graphic nature.
A small, blue-handled knife with blood on it was found close to Parrish’s head, Senkbeil described. As he continued, Senkbeil says there was a bloody cellphone charging cord lying close to Parrish’s head.
There were several different areas on the walls of the living room that had “large quantities of blood,” Senkbeil explained. He also found bloody shoe prints on the floor, according to the court document.
Senkbeil went into the bedroom and found more areas of pooled blood, he said. Along with that, he described seeing more areas of blood spatter on the wall and blood that had been smeared. A pink backpack with items belonging to Parrish was also found.
According to Senkbeil, an altercation had started in the bedroom and continued in the living room, with “multiple signs of struggle in both areas.”
Following his arrest, the 32-year-old was charged with murder and abuse of a corpse, with court documents saying Phillips “did knowingly treat a human corpse in a way that would outrage ordinary family sensibilities.”
Phillips, who has already requested a mental evaluation ahead of a trial, has also filed an intent to plead not guilty.
A hearing to address the bond issue is set for Tuesday, Feb. 21 at the Colbert County Courthouse.