The peace and quiet of the town of Pembroke, Kentucky, were disturbed when three locals were found dead on the same day, instilling a sense of dread into the residents’ minds and hearts. Suspecting that the triple murders were related and not a coincidence, the detectives launched an extensive investigation to find out the culprit/s behind the terrifying crimes. The intricate details surrounding this disturbing case and more are covered in ‘Dateline: The Evil That Watches,’ with Keith Morrison at the heart of the episode.
Calvin Died in His Home While Pam Was Found Dead in Her Car
While Calvin Lee Phillips was born on April 14, 1956, to John and Margaret Phillips, Pamela “Pam” Phillips (née Johnson) was brought into the world in 1958 by Connie Johnson. On one hand, Calvin grew up in the company of his sister Diana Phillips. On the other hand, Pam was accompanied by her loving brothers Larry Shirey and Jimmy Johnson. Calvin and Pam met later in life, fell in love, and decided to tie the knot. After some time, they welcomed their one and only son Matt Phillips into the world, bringing the small family all the more close to each other.
During the time of their deaths, the couple resided on South Main Street in Pembroke, Kentucky. Calvin was reportedly in the military and had traveled around the world, exploring various continents and countries. A nature lover at heart, he always used to admire God’s beauty and small things in life. As for Pam, she was described as a great mother who had experience of being a stay-at-home mother for nearly a decade or so. Apart from that, she was also a talented coworker and a helpful citizen who was always active in the community.
Their son, Matt Phillips, also passed a few statements about his loving parents, saying, “My mom was incredibly kind. She had a warmth about her that I think, biased as I may be, was incredibly rare.” About her father, he said,”…My father was energetic and outgoing and wanted to see the world, and my mother was quiet and reserved.” November 18, 2015, seemed to be just another regular day in the lives of Calvin and Pamela Phillips until it turned out to be their last day on Earth. When locals spotted a burning car on the edge of the town, the police were informed and called to the scene.
Upon arriving at the site, they discovered the burned remains of two people — Pamela Phillips and Edward Dansereau — inside the car that was set ablaze. Edward was Calvin and Pam’s next-door neighbor. On the same day, when the authorities went to Pam’s house to gain more information, they found Calvin Phillips dead at the bottom of the stairs of the house’s cellar. All the three victims died of multiple gunshot wounds. Soon, the authorities began an investigation and came to the conclusion that all three murders were connected.
Calvin And Pam Were Shot Down For Different Motives by The Same Killer
When the detectives scratched the surface and scoured through the entire property of the Phillips and the neighboring properties, they noticed some blood in the grass and a gun, which was a potential murder weapon, near a neighbor’s house. However, that neighbor was not home but his backdoor was wide open, the television was switched on, and an empty holster was lying in a chair, hinting that he left in a hurry. Upon interviewing the victims’ friends and families, the investigators learned that Calvin was supposed to testify for the prosecution in the court martial of Christian Richard “Kit” Martin, a former Army major who was charged with sexual assault and mishandling classified information.
Apart from this motive, Kit also believed that his ex-wife, Joan Harmon, and Calvin were having an affair at the time. Fueled by these two strong motives, he went to the Phillips and attempted to burn Calvin’s body in the cellar after shooting him to death. When that failed, he reportedly returned to the property to take care of it. But in the process, he happened to bump into Pam and Edward, whom he shot down for being at the wrong place at the wrong time, as per the investigators. After that, he took Pam’s car and drove the two bodies a few miles away before setting it on fire. The triple murder case went unsolved for over three years until Kit was finally indicted in May 2019 and arrested at the airline gate of the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport right before he was about to take off.
A couple of years later, in 2021, he was convicted by the jury for the triple murder of Calvin, Pam, and their neighbor Edward, and also charged with first-degree arson, attempted arson, first-degree burglary, and tampering with physical evidence. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the same charges. In order to extend his sympathy for the families of the victims, the Attorney General stated, “The families and the Pembroke community have endured a profound loss. While this verdict in no way eases that pain, I hope that they find some peace and comfort today.” Despite his multiple attempts at appealing and challenging the charges, the court upheld its decision.
Read More: Why Was Edward “Ed” Dansereau Killed?