Phillips Trial Day Three Recap

Phillips Trial Day Three Recap

The state of Nebraska has rested their case against a man who is facing charges in a fatal shooting that occurred north of Hartington in March of 2023.

David Phillips, 20, of Louisiana, faces charges of second-degree murder in the death of Israel Matos-Colon, 31, of Michigan, along with charges of possession of a stolen firearm, and use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony.

The state called on four new witnesses Thursday, including; Brandon Viterna, an investigator with the Nebraska State Patrol, Bryce Lingren, a trooper with the NSP, Kent Weber, a forensic lab supervisor with the NSP, and Dr. Jeremy Berg, a forensic pathologist with the NSP.

The state also recalled lead investigator on the case, Tyler Mann.

While on the stand, Weber testified that a ballistics test confirmed that the shell casings found at the crime scene were from a Glock 19 handgun, the weapon allegedly found on Phillips at the scene.

Dr. Jeremy Berg, who conducted the autopsy on Matos-Colon, stated that the victim’s cause of death was from a gunshot that entered through the left side of Matos-Colon’s left abdomen which shattered his left kidney causing major blood loss.

During the recall of Tyler Mann to the stand, Mann said that it was discovered during the investigation that the firearm allegedly used in death Matos-Colon had been reported stolen by Levi Donaldson of New Orleans, LA, Phillips’s home state, in May of 2022.

Phillips’s attorney, Todd Lancaster, has filed a motion to have the stolen firearm charged dismissed, stating that the state is required by law to prove that Phillips knew the firearm was stolen, feeling the state has not provided sufficient evidence to prove the charge.

Judge Bryan Meismer, who is overseeing the trial, said that he would take Lancaster’s motion under consideration, stating a decision would be made on the motion Friday.

Phillip’s trial is set to resume at 9 a.m.