Investigators say a Lakewood man was killed for $150 then covered with blankets, TV

Affidavit: Suspect pretended to be victim

LAKEWOOD, Colo. - Court documents allege that a Lakewood man, whose body was found on the floor of his mobile home Saturday, was killed for $150 cash.

Neighbors called police Saturday requesting a welfare check on Robert Phippen. They hadn't heard from the man for several days.

Policed entered Phippen's mobile home on the 1500 block of Depew Street, and found the victim's body on the floor by his bed.

Court documents state that the body was covered with blankets and that a heavy TV set had been placed on his head.

"That's just terrible," said one neighbor, who requested anonymity. "It's terrible because Bob was such a friendly guy."

Phippen's sister-in-law Jacqueline told 7NEWS by phone that the retired photographer often helped the down and out.

"I saw the suspects enter his home when I was visiting him last September," she said. "They were with two other people. They walked in, took food from his refrigerator and asked him for cash."

Police arrested James Dominguez-Castor, 22, and Stephvon G. Atencio, 20.

The arrest affidavit states that the suspects wrote checks to themselves on Phippen's bank account and tried to cash them at First Bank, Money Tree and Speedy Cash locations.

According to the affidavit, Phippen's answering machine contained messages from all three institutions asking if he'd written the check to Dominguez-Castor.

The affidavit also states that the men went back to Phippen's house and that Dominguez-Castor pretended to be the victim, used his phone to call one of the banks and said the check was authorized.

After cashing the check, the two men are accused of going to a Ross store and purchasing tennis shoes for themselves, then throwing their old shoes into a Dumpster behind the store.

Jacqueline Phippen told 7NEWS that Robert managed a photo studio in Washington State for many years before moving to Lakewood to take care of his mother.

"She had developed a brain tumor," Jacqueline said. "Robert lived her for a number of years and retired."

She said she expressed concern to Robert about the people he was letting into his home, and that he told her he just wanted to help them.

"That's what he did," the neighbor said. "He's done that for as long as I've known him.  Some people took advantage of that."

Jacqueline Phippen said she is still in shock, but is coping with the loss. She said she's glad police arrested the people they believe are responsible.

Dominguez-Castor and Atencio are being held for investigation of first degree murder.  Both are due back in court Friday.



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