'Wylie's Angel' grandmother pleads guilty to killing grandson

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by STEVE STOLER

WFAA

Posted on June 1, 2011 at 3:26 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 2 at 3:29 PM

MCKINNEY - On Wednesday morning Darlene Phillips took a plea deal that means years behind bars.

It was Phillips’ third court hearing on a potential plea bargain. During the first two times, she changed her mind and rejected the agreement.

On Wednesday she told Judge Chris Oldner that she accepted the terms: a guilty plea to Gerren Isgrigg's murder in exchange for 28 years behind prison bars.

"For her, it was about wanting to be able to have the hope or the chance that she will get out of here and have years left in her life," Marc Fratter, Phillips’ attorney.

Phillips’ lawyer said the 64-year-old grandmother wanted to keep Isgrigg's parents out of the courtroom, especially the child’s mother, her daughter, Nikki Phillips.

"Her biggest concern, despite the fact that perhaps her daughter had put her in this position, was that Nikki could face some sort of charges as a result of her coming and testifying," Fratter said.

Isgrigg's body was found in East Fork Park near Lake Lavon in April, 2010. He became known as "Wylie's Angel" as investigators spent days trying to identify him.

Phillips told officers she left a note with the boy hoping someone would give him a better life. An autopsy showed he died from exposure and lack of medical attention.

"We wanted to hear her say that she's guilty of murder and she got up there and she did," Curtis Howard, Collin County Prosecutor:

Phillips will be elgibile for parole in 13 years.

"This was important. it was some form of closure for everyone who worked so hard to investigate it," Vernece Perpetchzka, Wylie Police.

"Everybody has spoken for Gerren and Gerren couldn't speak for himself," Howard said

Phillips will be back in the same courtroom on Thursday morning for victim impact statements.

Isgrigg's family will get an opportunity to face her and share their feelings.

 

Email: sstoler@wfaa.com

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