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Already serving life, suspect in 1974 slayings won’t be prosecuted

FAIRMONT, W.Va. — A suspect in the 1974 slayings of three people in Fairmont won’t be prosecuted.

Marion County prosecutor Pat Wilson tells media outlets that he plans to ask the circuit court to dismiss first-degree murder and conspiracy charges against Phillip Reese Bush.

The decision follows a recent West Virginia Supreme Court ruling that reinstated two unrelated first-degree murder convictions against Bush. Wilson said Bush is serving two life sentences without the possibility of parole for those convictions.

Wilson also said dismissing the charges in the 1974 case will save the county tens of thousands of dollars in prosecution costs.

Bush and Eddie Jack Washington were charged with killing 20-year-old Lester Phillips, 19-year-old Wanda Jane Phillips and 27-year-old Billy Ray Cobb. Washington entered pleas to conspiracy charges last year.

— The Associated Press

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