A Charleston man accused of shooting and killing a Charleston police officer pleaded not guilty during arraignment Thursday and is headed for an August trial.
Joshua Marcellus Phillips, 38, pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, possessing a concealed firearm while prohibited and four drug charges during his arraignment in front of Kanawha County Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey. Phillips was indicted by a grand jury April 12.
Bailey scheduled Phillips’ trial for Aug. 16. He faces life in prison if convicted on all charges.
Police say Phillips shot Patrolman Cassie Johnson, 28, on Garrison Avenue Dec. 1. Johnson died in the hospital two days later.
Also Thursday, Richard Eugene Chapman, 44, and Marshall Hayward Sharp, 25, were arraigned on drug charges before Bailey. Police say the two sold drugs to Phillips just before he shot Johnson.
According to court records, Phillips was out of jail on bail at the time of the shooting. He was charged with driving on a license revoked for DUI in January.
In a criminal complaint following the shooting, Charleston Police Detective Christopher Lioi wrote that, around 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 1, a woman living on Garrison Avenue called police to report that Phillips’ red 1999 Dodge Durango was illegally parked on her property.
Johnson responded and approached a house Phillips entered across the street, according to the complaint filed in Kanawha Magistrate Court. The two moved toward the Durango, where Johnson requested Phillips’ driver’s license, which he failed to produce.
Phillips began to move inside of his vehicle with his back to Johnson, where she then ordered him to put his hands behind his back, Lioi wrote. Phillips turned toward Johnson “in an aggressive manner” and threw her handcuffs into the street.
Holding a handgun he pulled from his waistband in his right hand, Phillips grabbed Johnson’s pistol and holster with his left hand, preventing it from being drawn, according to the complaint. The two continued to struggle until Phillips wrestled free and shot at Johnson five times, striking her once in the base of the neck.
Johnson fired her service weapon three times, striking Phillips twice, Lioi wrote. Phillips then entered his vehicle while Johnson laid motionless on the ground.
Police apprehended Phillips farther up Garrison Avenue.
Kanawha County Sheriff’s Detective C.A. Boner wrote in a criminal complaint that he visited Chapman’s Garrison Avenue home, in which Chapman told investigators Phillips came to his house just before the shooting looking for methamphetamine. Chapman allegedly told detectives he had helped Phillips in finding meth in the past.
Chapman, Sharp and another person, Herb Sharp, were arrested and charged with felony conspiracy. Herb Sharp and Marshall Sharp were inside Chapman’s house, according to the complaint, and allegedly helped Chapman secure Klonopin pills shortly before the shooting.
The Charleston Police Department reportedly turned over 63 Klonopin pills found in Phillips’ pants after the shooting.
Herb Sharp was not arraigned Thursday. Phillips remains in custody at the South Central Regional Jail.