Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 8 / 22 February 2018

Man accused of targeting gay men charged in SF

A man accused of targeting gay men has been charged with murder in the August death of a San Francisco resident.

Michael J. Phillips, 64, was booked into custody last week on charges including murder, first-degree robbery, inflicting injury on an elder or dependent adult, manufacture or possession of fraudulent financial documents, theft of access card, receiving or buying stolen property, and aggravated mayhem, according to the sheriff’s department.

Phillips, who pleaded not guilty to the charges Tuesday, is accused of killing James Sheahan, 75, “who was found dead with blunt force injuries” August 14 in his Nob Hill apartment, according to Bay City News.

BCN says that prosecutors alleged at Phillips’ arraignment Tuesday that he “has a history of preying on sick elderly men in the gay community,” and that “Phillips befriended Sheahan, seeking to act as a sort of caretaker, and tried to get money from him before killing him when he refused.”

Assistant District Attorney Michael Swart said in court that video footage shows Phillips coming and going from Sheahan’s apartment, and Phillips was eventually found to have things that belonged to Sheahan, according to BCN, which also said that Swart said Phillips may have also stolen guns and other items from two other men.

Max Szabo, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office, told the Bay Area Reporter Wednesday, “At this time it remains unclear if we will be able to take action into the two preivous instances of alleged theft  in light of the statute of limitations and the subsequent passing of those two victims.”

Szabo said he couldn’t share more details about the other men, and he declined to discuss evidence related to the Sheahan case. He said that Sheahan is the only victim listed in the charges against Phillips.

Deputy Public Defender Kwixuan Maloof, who represented Phillips Tuesday, didn’t respond to the B.A.R.’s request for comment Wednesday morning.

The San Francisco Police Department declined to release Phillips’ booking photo, saying in an email, “There is still an open investigation and pending ID matters.”

The medical examiner’s office hasn’t issued a final determination of the cause and manner of Sheahan’s death.

Phillips next court date is Thursday, November 30.

The B.A.R. will have more on this story in the Thursday, December 6 edition.


— Seth Hemmelgarn, November 29, 2017 @ 12:33 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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