Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Newport Man Arrested, Charged with Murder in Shooting

An arrest has been made by Newport Police in the shooting and killing of a taxi driver just before midnight last night.

Justin L. Russell, 20, from Newport was charged with murder of David DePhillips, 38, also from Newport.

He will be housed at the Campbell County Detention Center.

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Newport Police said that patrol officers stopped a vehicle today at 2:05 p.m. that matched a description of a car leaving the scene of the crime last night at Washington Avenue and 10th Street. By 2:14 the suspect had been arrested on separate charges after officers saw shell casings in plain view of the suspect's vehicle.

Police said that a witness gave a positive identification of the suspect and surveillance video corroborated those accounts.

"These cases have to develop very rapidly when it comes to evidence for us to have a good chance of us apprehending the suspect," said Lt. Chris Fangman of Newport Police. "The longer it goes, the tougher it gets and our Detectives did a great job."

Det. Dennis McCathy said that they had determined there was an exchange of counterfeit money for narcotics, which could be a potential motive for the killing. He could not say how much money was used in the drug buy.

Surveillance video showed a shadowy figure fire into DePhillips' cab and seconds later he could be seen driving almost two blocks before crashing into nearly a half-dozen other vehicles in the 900 block of Washington Street.

Police say that DePhillips was homeless and was staying in vacant properties, hotels and his taxi.

A female passenger, who police say was acquainted with DePhillips, was in the back seat of the taxi while the shooting took place.

Russell doesn't have much of a criminal record in Kentucky, but was arrested in November in Campbell County and charged with alcoholic intoxication in a public place.

This story will be updated.

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