EagleHerald Staff Writer
MENOMINEE—Ryan Joseph Philipps, 25, of Menominee Township was convicted on two felony counts late Friday, but found not guilty of attempted murder, two years after the sport-utility vehicle he was driving seriously injured Devon Barley, 25, also of Menominee Township.
The jury listened to about a day and a half of testimony before returning a verdict of guilty of assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder, punishable by up to 10 years, and of reckless driving causing serious impairment, punishable by five years. Philipps, who is the son of Menominee attorney Randall Philipps, was found not guilty of assault with a dangerous weapon.
The verdict was announced about 11:30 p.m. Friday, according to the Michigan State Attorney’s office. 47th Circuit Court Judge John Economopoulos declined to revoke bond in the matter.
Assistant State Attorney Robert Hayes is the prosecuting attorney. He did not respond to the EagleHerald’s Tuesday request for an interview.
Sentencing will be scheduled by the Menominee Circuit Court, the state attorney’s office said.
“We were disappointed because we wanted the jury to find reasonable doubt, which we believe the evidence did show. We were seeking an acquittal of all charges,” said Menominee defense attorney Trenton Stupak. However, Stupak said, Philipps was convicted of a less-serious offense than the assault with intent to murder charge the state attorney general sought.
According to media reports from the August 2019 incident, witnesses at the time told Menominee County sheriff’s deputies Philipps drove onto the front lawn at the County Road 577 home where Barley resided about 4:15 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2, 2019. The sports-utility vehicle Philipps was driving appeared to intentionally strike and run over Barley after the two had argued over $140, according to the 2019 media reports. Both men were age 23 at the time.
Deputies searched for Philipps and the SUV using a drone. Philipps surrendered at 6:52 p.m. Aug. 4, 2019 and was arrested and charged with assault with intent to murder and attempted murder, according to media reports.
But Stupak said several witnesses testified during the court proceedings that Barley jumped on the hood of the SUV, and Phillips’ drove over the lawn to get away from a dangerous situation.
“Our position was Mr. Philipps did not intend to cause the result that was caused. That’s what was most disappointing, that they didn’t find this was an accident,” Stupak said.
“The testimony was clear Barley went up to Philipps’ window and there was an altercation while Ryan was in the driver’s seat. That led to Mr. Philipps’ driving on the lawn, and Barley somehow got struck (by the vehicle). We felt it was clear Barley got himself on the hood,” he said.
The evidence showed Barley jumped on the hood of the car and at some point slipped off, Stupak said. “The jury was unwilling to accept it was unintentional. They thought it was intentional and reckless.”