St. Martin man gets life for killing a woman found buried in his backyard
JACKSON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - A St. Martin man will spend the rest of his life behind bars for the murder of a Florida woman found buried in his backyard.
Phillip York was set to go to trial Monday, but at the last minute decided to plead guilty.
York admitted to killing Sarah Jane Willard, who investigators say he met online. In February 2020, the 29-year-old was found buried in the backyard of York’s home on Sweetbriar Street. The state medical examiner said she died from a gunshot wound to the head.
York was charged with first degree murder and possession of weapon by a convicted felon. While he was sentenced to life on the murder charge, he also received a 10 year sentence for the possession charge, which will run concurrent with the life sentence.
District Attorney Angel Myers McIlrath said, “This was a heinous crime driven by the defendant’s selfish sexual desires. The defendant thought that no one would come looking for the victim. He was wrong. Sarah’s life mattered and today we got justice for her and her family.”
“I want to commend the hard work of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department and FBI in their collaborative investigation and pursuit of justice for Sarah,” said Assistant District Attorney Justin Lovorn.
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