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Suspect in Va. hospital homicide also accused of Fauquier courthouse shooting

A Culpeper man already charged with the attempted murder of a police officer is a suspect in the February strangling death of an Alexandria man in the forensic unit of the Central State Hospital in Petersburg, where both were patients, according to the Virginia State Police.

George Golder Phillips II was charged with attempted murder of a police officer for his shooting of shooting a Fauquier County deputy in December as he was being taken into a routine court hearing. Phillips, 31, was being evaluated for competency to stand trial and had been involved in "an altercation" at the hospital previously with Justin L. Davis, 21, according to a request to take a DNA sample from Phillips that state police filed March 10.

State police state that Phillips is shown on hospital video entering Davis's room twice on the night of Feb. 27, first at approximately 9:30.

After the second entry, video shows Phillips staying roughly six minutes and then shutting off the lights in Davis's room as he leaves, state police told a judge in an affidavit for a search warrant.

Davis's body was found Feb. 28 and Virginia's Chief Medical Examiner ruled his death a homicide and the cause "probable ligature strangulation," meaning that some sort of cord was likely used.

A hospital spokeswoman declined to say at what time Davis's body was found or the circumstances of the discovery of the body. Spokeswoman Meghan W. McGuire of the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, which runs the 120-patient facility, also said she could not discuss why Davis was at the hospital.

Most patients at the site, however, are ordered there by criminal courts for emergency mental treatment, competency evaluations or commitments after a guilty verdict by reason of insanity, McGuire said.

Patients are locked into the hospital but not their rooms, said McGuire.

The hospital has not had a homicide in the last decade, according to McGuire said. The hospital is conducting its own investigation in addition to the state police inquiry, she said.

The investigation of Phillips in Davis's death is one of a running series of criminal counts against Phillips brought by a range of law enforcement agencies during the past six months.

The alleged courthouse shooting occurred in a holding cell area when Phillips wrested a gun away from the deputy and also stabbed and injured a second deputy, Fauquier officials said. Phillips was being escorted to a hearing about a bank robbery in Fauquier in which he was charged in November.

In January, while already in jail for the shooting incident, Phillips was arrested by Virginia State Police for a September 2009 armed carjacking and abduction that took place in a parking lot of a store in Gainesville.

In the carjacking, police chased the stolen SUV on I-495 South and across the Wilson Bridge into Maryland where the SUV crashed and the suspect fled.

A tip to investigators based on a sketch of the suspect led to Phillips, state police said.

-- Mary Pat Flaherty

By Mary Pat Flaherty  |  March 15, 2010; 5:01 PM ET
Categories:  Homicide , Mary Pat Flaherty , Pr. William , Virginia  
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