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Woman appeals conviction in lawyer’s death

YORK (AP) — A woman convicted of killing the former mayor of York more than three years ago is appealing her conviction.

The lawyer for Julia Phillips filed a notice of her plans to appeal Monday with the South Carolina Court of Appeals in Columbia, according to The Herald of Rock Hill (http://bit.ly/16l1yp3 ).

Phillips, 69, was convicted of murder on Sept. 5 in the strangling death of her 79-year-old boyfriend Melvin Roberts.

The notice of appeal doesn’t give any details on what Phillips’ lawyer thinks was wrong with her eight-day trial. Those will come later when the formal appeal is filed.

Prosecutors accused Phillips of planning to kill Roberts because he was getting ready to stop giving her money.

Roberts was killed in his driveway in February 2010. Authorities said someone hit him in the head with an object, shattering his skull and forcing him to the ground. The assailant fired a gunshot near Roberts to keep him from fighting back, then put a zip tie round his neck and pulled it tight while keeping a foot on his back for traction.

A pathologist testified that the binding squeezed Robert’s 16-inch neck so tight that it measured just 13 inches around when the tie was removed at his autopsy.

Investigators have not found the person who actually killed Roberts.

The decision to appeal didn’t surprise prosecutors or Roberts’ family.

“It is my hope that she dies before this appeal is heard,” said Roberts’ son, Ronnie.

Ronnie Roberts hopes being in prison gets Phillips to finally say who actually killed his father.

“The animal that actually pulled the zip tie is still out there,” he said.

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