A 20-year-old Louisiana man charged with second-degree murder allegedly told witnesses that the man he shot had spoken ill of his mother.
David M. Phillips Jr., 20, of Kenner, Louisiana, is accused of fatally shooting Israel Matos-Colon, 31, of Fowlerville, Michigan, on March 1. The men were part of a crew working on a tower 2 miles north of Hartington in northeast Nebraska (about 150 miles north of Omaha).
Phillips appeared in Cedar County Court last week and was also charged with use of a firearm to commit a felony and being in possession of stolen firearm. A judge ordered Phillips held on $10 million bail. He must pay 10% of that amount, $100,000, to be released from the Cedar County Jail.
Investigators said the shooting occurred during a workplace argument between Phillips and Matos-Colon, who was pronounced dead at a Yankton, South Dakota, hospital. If convicted of second-degree murder, Phillips faces a sentence of 20 years to life in prison.
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According to an affidavit filed in Cedar County, three other workers witnessed the shooting about 9:20 a.m. One witness told investigators that he saw Phillips firing a handgun at Matos-Colon from about 7 feet. The witness said that after the shooting, Phillips was wandering around and said, “That (N-word) done talked about my mom.”
Another witness told investigators that he heard from six to 10 gunshots and that Phillips “apologized” to Matos-Colon as he was receiving CPR. Phillips, the witness said, also asked if the other workers were going to give him “a ride out of there” or call police.
A Glock model G19 Gen5 9mm handgun was retrieved from Phillips’ left pant leg, authorities said. The weapon had been reported stolen in Louisiana, the affidavit said.
The Nebraska State Patrol is conducting the investigation with the aid of the Cedar County Sheriff’s Office.
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