By DON O'BRIEN
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
A St. Louis man charged with shooting his son to death in rural Pike County, Mo., last August was sent to prison Friday after he pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter.
Michael Lee Phillips, 46, was sentenced to seven years in the Missouri Department of Corrections by Judge Rachel Bringer Shepherd. Pike County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Fisher amended the charge Phillips was facing as part of Thursday's hearing. Phillips originally was charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action. Those charges were dismissed.
Seven years is the maximum sentence allowed for involuntary manslaughter, a Class C felony.
Phillips admitted to shooting his son, Jeff Chisholm, 22, of St. John, during an altercation at 11072 Pike 52 between Frankford and Bowling Green on Aug. 31. The shooting happened after Chisholm had been in arguments with several people, according to a Pike County Sheriff's Department report.
Witnesses said Chisholm got into an argument with his girlfriend and allegedly head-butted her in the face. His mother, Patricia Chisholm, intervened and asked him to leave.
Witnesses said Jeff Chisholm tried to leave, but his mother attempted to physically keep him from driving since he had been drinking. During the struggle, Chisholm knocked his mother to the ground. Witnesses said Phillips began to struggle with Chisholm. Chisholm was able to separate himself from Phillips and got into the car. The two continued to argue as Chisholm tried to drive away.
Chisholm left the residence only to return a short time later to retrieve his shoes, witnesses said. Witnesses said they locked the doors to the house so Chisholm could not enter. Witnesses said shortly after Chisholm quit knocking on the door, they heard two gunshots come from the front porch.
Chisholm's mother told police that after hearing the first shot, she came around the corner of the residence to see her son and Phillips struggling on the front porch. After the second shot, Chisholm and Phillips fell to the ground. Chisholm yelled that he had been shot. Chisholm's mother told police that it appeared the two continued to struggle for control of the gun. Chisholm's mother took the gun from Phillips' right hand. She said that she and Chisholm's girlfriend tried to administer CPR on Chisholm, but he became unresponsive before the arrival of Pike County EMS and law enforcement.
Phillips had been lodged in the Pike County Jail on $200,000 cash-only bond since his arrest.