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Lori Ann Phillips was acquitted of 2nd degree reckless homicide on Friday in the 2019 killing of her husband Mark Phillips in Holmen, Wisconsin.
Several circumstances in this case are eerily similar to the Karen Read case.
- The two of them had been out drinking before returning home.
- Prosecutors claim that Lori ran him over with her truck and left him to die in the snow.
- Lori found his body on the lawn at 6 AM and called 911.
- Mark weighed 220 pounds.
However, there are many things about Lori Ann Phillips that make her look more guilty than Karen Read:
- Witnesses saw them fighting at the bar, whereas even the McCabes and Alberts reported seeing John and Karen getting along and being affectionate.
- Lori Ann accused him of domestic violence after he died.
- There is no third party culpability defense of Lori Ann.
But the thing that stood out most was the autopsy. Although we don’t have a picture of his body, the description of the condition Mr. Phillips was in was much different from John O’Keefe’s autopsy pictures.
This is what bilateral facial abrasions look like:
This is what John O’Keefe’s face looked like:
If John’s face hit the ground it would cause abrasions, not black eyes and small cuts.
The cerebral subdural hemorrhage and contusion of left temporalis muscle are brain injuries. John O’Keefe had neither.
Mark Phillips had abrasions to his torso region, including an interior left flank contusion. This is what that looks like:
John O’Keefe had no bruises, contusions, scrapes, cuts, lacerations, abrasions, or broken bones below his eyes.
Mark Phillips had multiple fractures to his left ribs associated soft tissue hemorrhage, and extensive left sided pulmonary parenchymal lacerations with associated hemothorax. In other words, he hit the ground so hard that it caused severe damage to his lungs, which caused a huge build up of blood between the lungs and chest wall.
John O’Keefe’s lungs were perfectly fine.
Mark Phillips had multiple abrasions and contusions of the bilateral upper and lower limbs (his arms and legs).
John O’Keefe didn’t have any abrasions or contusions on his arms or legs. He did have a boxer’s fracture on his his right knuckle, and parallel lacerations all over his arm, something Mark Phillips didn’t have because he didn’t get into a fight and get chewed up by a dog.
Mark Phillips had injuries to his upper left deltoid (upper arm), left thigh, left tibia, right patella (knee), and a contusion to his right tibia.
John O’Keefe’s arms, legs, and knees were fine after allegedly being struck by a 3 ton vehicle traveling 24 mph in reverse.
In other words, Mark Phillips’ body looked exactly how it should look after being hit by a large vehicle, whereas John O’Keefe’s body looked exactly how it should look if he was beaten, attacked by a dog, and left to die in the snow.
There were other differences as well:
- Mark Phillips body was frozen when he was discovered in the 20 degree weather. His body and belt was literally frozen to the ground because he had been out there for 7 hours (11 PM to 6 AM). John O’Keefe was alive when first responders found him and had likely only been outside for a couple hours at most. If Karen Read had struck him at 12:30 his body would’ve been completely frozen as well.
- Lori Ann Phillips told police that she was in the middle of a heated fight with her husband, and that he had crossed in front of the truck and was standing next to her door when she hit the gas. There were no witnesses to confirm or deny this. John O’Keefe and Karen Read were not fighting that evening, and witness Ryan Nagel reported seeing Karen Read sitting alone in her SUV with John nowhere in sight. Karen Read does not report John aggressively trying to get into her car, and claims that she drove off after patiently waiting for him for 10 minutes.
- Lori Ann Phillips has a story that isn’t really that believable. She claims she went to go find a hotel at 11 AM but booked the wrong date for one hotel, and another hotel didn’t have any rooms, so she slept in her truck until 2 AM before deciding to go home. When she walked back into the house she says didn’t see the body. Karen Read’s story is that she went home, waited for John to call, fell asleep on the couch for a couple house, and then went looking for him. She saw his body as soon as she arrived at Fairview Road, but the other people inside the house had a similar story to Lori Ann Phillips – they didn’t see a body in the snow.
- During cross examination the prosecutor pointed out that Lori Ann Phillips told police that she “didn’t hit him or anything” with her car (4:00 minute mark of video). Prosecutors said that she offered this up to police without being asked about, and suggested that it was evidence of a guilty conscience because “the thought at least had crossed your mind, that you hit him.” This is eerily similar to Karen Read allegedly asking Jennifer McCabe “could I have hit him?”
Despite the fact that there is no other explanation for how Mark Phillips ended up dead with those injuries on his front lawn, and despite the fact that Lori Ann Phillips claimed he was abusive, and that the two of them had gotten into a drunken fight, it took the jury just four hours to acquit her. The jury in the Karen Read trial will need much less time than that.