In 1995, the police were called to a horrific crime scene in Bald Knob, Arkansas. They arrived to find a scene where Mary Phillips was found brutally raped, beaten, and strangled. Her daughter was found unconscious and tied to a chair nearby. Assuming both victims to be deceased, authorities began taking pictures when the daughter, Lacy Phillips, regained consciousness. What followed was a terrifying tale of cold-blooded murder. Investigation Discovery’s ‘Evil Lives Here: Shadows of Death: The Girl in the Photo’ chronicles the shocking case and portrays how Lacy held the key to the murderer’s capture. If you want to know more about the case and where Lacy Phillips is today, we have got you covered.
How Did Mary Phillips Die?
Mary Phillips, 34, from Bradford, Arkansas, along with her children, 17-year-old Darla, 15-year-old Jessie, and 11-year-old Lacy. She was married to James Phillips and worked as a bookkeeper at the Automated Tax and Accounting Service in Bald Knob. Adored by her family and loved by the community, Mary Phillips is still sorely missed ever since her untimely demise.
June 6, 1995, started as a typical day with Mary going to her work as usual. Lacy had a dentist appointment at 3 pm that day, and thus, her elder sister, Darla, drove her over to Mary’s workplace in the afternoon. Later, Darla and her brother, Jessie, mentioned how Lacy and Mary were supposed to get back around 5 pm, but they never turned up.
Earlier that day, one of the customers Mary interacted with was a black-haired male with a teardrop tattoo on his face. He borrowed some account books, and Mary did not pay a second thought to the interaction. However, just when the duo planned on setting out for the dentist, the man came back. Once back, he claimed that he was given the wrong books and then threatened to rob them.
He forced Mary down on the ground and made Lacy lie on top of her mother before robbing the store of any cash on hand. He then took Lacy into an adjoining bathroom and tied her to a chair before leaving her there. He came back shortly after and proceeded to choke her till she fell unconscious. The man then proceeded to beat the unconscious girl mercilessly. Later, the police noticed that Lacy suffered numerous lacerations and skull fractures resulting from repeated blows to her head. It is believed that Jones hit Lacy at least eight times in the head.
When the police reached the crime scene, they first noticed Mary Phillips, who was found to be partially naked. Her hands were tied behind her back, and there were bruise marks all over her body. The police gathered that Mary had tried to fight off her attacker, but he forced himself on her and beat her brutally. The cause of her death was strangulation, as was apparent from the electrical cord still around her neck. The police also took swabs of her privates, which later revealed that she was anally raped. On further investigation, the police came across an unconscious Lacy, still tied to the chair. Assuming her to be the second homicide victim, authorities started photographing her when the terrified girl woke up, surprising law enforcement officers.
Who Killed Mary Phillips?
Jack H. Jones Jr. was convicted of the rape and murder of Mary Phillips in 1996. The police knew that they had a significant breakthrough on their hands when Lacy Phillips was discovered to be still alive. Through Lacy, the police got a clear picture of the perpetrator as she described a male with black hair who sported a teardrop tattoo around his eye. She also described him as having multiple tattoos on his arms. The description rang a bell with officers on the scene who were familiar with a person who had similar tattoos. That person was Jack Jones Jr.
When the police visited Jones at his residence, he offered no resistance and instead willing went along with the officers. Once interrogated, he confessed to the heinous crimes and, in return, claimed that he wanted to get back at the police. He further alleged that the crimes resulted from his anger as the police had done nothing after his wife was reportedly raped. Once put on trial, the guilty confession stuck, and Jack Jones Jr. was sentenced to death for the capital murder of Mary Phillips. The court also found him guilty of Mary’s rape as well as the attempted murder of Lacy Phillips. The latter convictions netted him a life sentence and a 30-year prison sentence on top of him being sent to death.
While in prison, Jones’ DNA in the CODIS system helped police link him to the 1991 murder of Lori Barrett. Jones was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for the same. Jones went through several failed appeals, but his death sentence was still delayed as he suffered from severe medical conditions. Ultimately, Jack Jones Jr. was executed through lethal injection on April 24, 2017. Surprisingly, in a letter to his sister that surfaced after his execution, Jones confessed to the 1983 murder of Regina Harrison, for which Ronald Henry Stewart was already doing time in prison.
Where Is Lacy Phillips Now?
Lacy Phillips played a massive role in bringing her mother’s killer to justice. It is not easy for an 11-year-old to go through such a terrible ordeal and still testify in court. Yet, Lacy put on a brave face and testified against Jack Jones Jr. Throughout the years since she lost her mother, Lacy did not stop fighting for justice. She was a regular at most court hearings and was present to witness Jones being put to death. While being executed, Jones even apologized to Lacy for the heinous crimes.
At present, Lacy Phillips is married and is a proud mother, residing in Piggott, Arkansas. Mary is still sorely missed by her daughter, who has often expressed her love towards the victim on social media. Although Lacy went through quite the ordeal, it is pleasant to see, with the support of her loved ones, she has overcome most hurdles and established a successful life for herself. We wish her all the best and hope happiness never eludes her in the future.
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