A 42-year old Upshur County man will serve a 50 year sentence for killing his two-year-old grandson last October in a DWI wreck.
Randell J. Phillips was driving while under the influence at around 9:45 p.m on Oct. 29 when he crashed into a tree, killing his two-year-old grandson, who was unrestrained in the front seat of the vehicle.
Authorities said Phillips was highly intoxicated at the time of his accident and blood evidence revealed that even after almost four hours after the crash, his blood alcohol level was still twice the legal limit.
Normally, Phillips would have been charged with intoxication manslaughter, a crime with a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. However, Phillips already had two prior DWI convictions from Gregg County and a murder indictment was sought in this latest offense.
The sentence comes from a rare, but unique aspect of Texas Law where if a defendant, Phillips, is in the commission of a felony (driving while intoxicated, in this case) and they commit an act that is clearly dangerous to human life and causes the death of another individual, they may be charged with murder.
Evidence showed that Phillips placed his grandson unrestrained in the front seat of his vehicle.
The sentence ensures that it is very likely that Phillips will not leave prison alive.
The boy's mother, Phillip's daughter, believed that her father did not mean to cause his grandson's death and had hoped for a much lesser sentence.