14 year old charged with murdering father - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

14 year old charged with murdering father


The wife and son of a Talahi Island area man found dead in his garage Sunday face additional charges after their arrest Sunday.

Fourteen-year-old Preston Phelps has been charged as an adult with the murder of Thomas Phelps. Judith Ann Phelps, his mother, has been charged with making false statements, hindering an investigation and tampering with evidence. Both had been charged with concealing his death on Sunday.

An autopsy on Thomas Phelps is scheduled Wednesday to determine the cause of death.

Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police found his body in the garage of their residence on Nilsson Drive after police reports indicate Judith Phelps' sister reported seeing it there.

According to police reports, his body had wounds to the face and stomach.
Island Precinct officers, reacting to the report, entered the house about 7:15 p.m. after receiving no answer to their knock on the door. Once they found the body they obtained a search warrant and processed the scene throughout the night and all day Monday and Tuesday

Neighbors say the 14 year old was troubled.

"I felt like something wasn't quite right. He didn't smile. He didn't make eye contact. He was different than the other children," one neighbor said.

Other neighbors said the teenager hurt his mother just months ago.

"Preston hit her and broke her nose. They sent him off somewhere to stay with family," a neighbor said.

WTOC was not able to locate any police reports that showed there was domestic violence at the home.

But police aren't strangers to the house.

According to one report in June of 2012, Judith Phelphs called police because she thought there were children in the house.

When they got there, police say there was no one there. But according to the report, she continued pointing to the ground and insisted.

The report says officers spoke with Thomas Phelps and he told them his wife hadn't been acting right.

Police transported her to Memorial.

Neighbors say the last time they saw Thomas Phelps was last week. Police won't say how long they think he was dead in the garage.
Violent crimes detectives are continuing to investigate the death and circumstances pertaining to it.

In court Tuesday, prosecutors said Judith Phelps is not cooperating with police. The judge denied her bond.

Anyone with information is asked to call the SCMPD Violent Crimes Division at (912) 651-6728 or Crimestoppers at (912) 234-2020. Tipsters remain anonymous and may qualify for a cash reward.

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