News From Terre Haute, Indiana

January 2, 2014

Police seek phone records in stabbing investigation

Witnesses: Fight started over $200

Staff Report
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — A Vigo County judge Thursday found probable cause to detain Phillip A. Evans on preliminary charges of murder and aggravated battery, a class B felony, during an initial video court hearing Thursday, holding the Terre Haute man in the Vigo County Jail without bail.

Evans, 35, was booked into the Vigo County Jail Tuesday on a preliminary charge of murder and aggravated battery related to the stabbing death of Joshua S. Thomas, 27. Prosecutors have 72 hours to file formal charges.

Evans was appointed a public defender and is scheduled for a formal court hearing at 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 7 in Vigo County Superior Court Division 6.

In a news conference Thursday, Assistant Chief Shawn Keen of the Terre Haute Police Department said that Evans and Thomas were roommates.

Keen earlier reported that at 7:26 p.m. Tuesday, officers responded to a report of a fight in process in the 2600 block of Dillman Street on the city’s southwest side. One of the responding officers found Thomas unresponsive on the ground in front of the residence. While performing CPR, officers noticed stab wounds and trauma on Thomas’ body.

Thomas was transported to Terre Haute Regional Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Judge Michael Lewis approved a warrant to allow police to collect saliva or other samples for DNA from Evans.

In addition, Chief Deputy Prosecutor Rob Roberts requested Lewis to approve a warrant to obtain the conversations of two cellular telephones belonging to Evans. Roberts told the judge that Evans told detectives he had received a call that Thomas was being beaten by others and that he was on his way to Thomas. Roberts said the warrant would allow prosecutors to verify or discredit Evans statement.

Roberts, in the hearing, said witnesses stated that Phillips and Thomas had been arguing over a $200 withdrawal from a bank account. Roberts said witnesses stated that Evans and Thomas were fighting and that Evans had received a punch in the face.

Evans then allegedly beat and stabbed Thomas, the prosecutor said. Roberts told the judge that a knife and blood evidence from the scene has been secured by police.

Keen said the investigation is ongoing and other arrests are possible.