Court Security

Man charged in murder attempt on judge also wanted to slay DA and federal judge, authorities say

William Ray Phillips would have liked to have arranged for a contract hit on a Texas district attorney, a state-court judge and a federal judge, authorities say.

But when it came time to put his money on the table, the 63-year-old was allegedly willing to pay only for the slaying of 54th State District Judge Matt Johnson. Phillips was arrested earlier this year, following a lengthy investigation, and indicted Wednesday on a count of attempted capital murder by a grand jury in McLennan County, reports the Waco Tribune-Herald.

He is accused of offering to pay $30,000 to have Johnson killed. The judge presided over two trials of Phillips, and sentenced him in to a 10-year term in 2013 for failing to register as a sex offender. The defendant was earlier sentenced to a 46-month term in federal prison in 2002 by U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith following a conviction for possession of child pornography.

Both Johnson and McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna, who was also allegedly on Phillips’ contract hit wish list, have recused themselves. He is being prosecuted by the Montgomery County district attorney and retired State District Judge Willie Dubose will preside.

The article doesn’t include any comment by Phillips or his legal counsel.

Hat tip: Associated Press

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