Three Convicted in 15 Year Old Murder - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Harris County

Three Convicted in 15 Year Old Murder

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The case wrapped up in a Harris County Superior Court Friday morning. Paul McKeen was only 20 years old when was killed. He had a wife and a 2-year old son at the time. His entire family was inside the courtroom as three of the four men were convicted. And after 15-years it was an emotional morning.

Quietly sobbing the family of Paul McKeen Jr. said thank you to investigators and prosecutors. "After 15 years, it's something we never thought we'd see," says the victims brother Brian McKeen. Paul McKeen's body was found dumped along Hwy 190 the morning of February 28, 1990. According to witness testimony he had been beaten in the head with a tire iron. "We were glad it got brought out in a courtroom and the jury got to hear it," say the family.

The incident began at a restaurant in Pine Mountain then called the Pines. McKeen and the four suspects got into an argument over 100 dollars of unpaid drug money. Clay Bryant the lead criminal investigator in the case says, "there as evidence and witness statements that may have been doubled on a pool game, double or nothing for your debt and the young boy lost."

Johnny Phillips has been sentenced to life without parole on the charge of malice murder. Charles Bulloch also faces life, but with the possibility of parole. James Reagan was found guilty of aggravated assault and kidnapping; he has not been sentenced yet. And the fourth suspect, Guy Hardaway was acquitted for lack of evidence. "We'll appeal," says Michael Bergin who represents Johnny Phillips. Bergin says the case lacked sufficient evidence and the cause of death was never proved. He says, the doctor that testified, admitted that he was not an expert in brain damage. Prosecutors say that's not true. Prosecutor Raymond Mayer says the doctor accurately testified that McKeen died from blows to the head and that his body was already limp when he was thrown onto the road way.

By Kari Tornabene
ktornabene@wtvm.com

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