The Ottumwa Courier

AP Iowa

August 20, 2013

Minnesota man charged with 1999 Iowa slaying

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — A Minnesota man is facing a first-degree murder charge in the 1999 slaying of an Iowa woman after a recent review of the cold case developed new information leading to the arrest, police said Monday.

Deshaun Lamont Phillips, 34, of Lakeville, Minn., was already in jail in Minnesota's Scott County on a domestic assault charge when the charge in the killing of Judith Weeks was filed Friday.

Weeks' partially clothed body was found April 5, 1999, beneath a fire escape in the backyard of a vacant apartment in Cedar Rapids. An autopsy concluded the 44-year-old Cedar Rapids woman had been struck in the forehead by a sharp object.

Cedar Rapids Police Sgt. Denni Randall said in a news release that the case was thoroughly investigated 14 years ago and has been reviewed several times over the years.

"Recently, investigators were specifically assigned to this case and developed new information regarding Phillips that they pursued, which resulted in the filing of this charge," she said.

Authorities haven't said what type of evidence was uncovered. Randall, in an email, said she couldn't release anything further.

Iowa prosecutors weren't immediately available for comment. Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden did not respond to messages left by The Associated Press.

Online court records show Phillips spent seven days in jail and paid a fine for a second offense domestic abuse charge that occurred just two weeks after Weeks' body was found. Later that year he was convicted on burglary charges and sentenced to prison. Iowa Department of Corrections records show Phillips was released from prison in February 2012.

In Minnesota, corrections records show he had been convicted of domestic assault in July 2012 and was jailed again July 15 in Scott County, Minn., on assault and domestic abuse charges. The records show on Friday he was ordered held on $1 million bail with a notation referring to the state's criminal extradition law.

His Iowa record also shows earlier convictions for theft, possession of a controlled substance, domestic abuse and contempt of court.

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