Philips Trial Blog: Food Used As Punishment
Guardian On Trial For Chander Grafner's Death
Last Updated: 1752 days ago
3:58 p.m. The court is back in session. The prosecution is playing a second tape of Denver police Det. Ken Klaus interviewing Chandler's half-brother. The tape is about 50 minutes long.
3:28 p.m. The court is taking its afternoon recess.
3:05 p.m. The prosecution is playing a tape of Denver police Detective Ken Klaus interviewing Chandler's half-brother just after Chandler died. The tape is about 50 minutes long. It has a number of holes ranging from a few seconds to 4 minutes. The holes are because of a problem with the video recording device.The judge ordered the tape not be recorded by audio or video. In the tape, Chandler's half-brother describes his older brother as a "sad face.""I had a big brother, Chandler, but my big brother is dead," the half-brother said.The brother said he and Chandler shared a bunk bed and that they ate breakfast in the bedroom. The family rarely ate lunch, the brother said, because "my mommy and daddy always forget." Their only other meal was dinner. Whenever the children were still hungry, all they had to do was ask for more food, the brother said.The younger brother said the day Chandler died, Jon Phillips and Sarah Berry changed his clothes before he went to the hospital because "he was very sick."
2:28 p.m. The witness testifying over the phone was Army Lt. William Pollard. He said one day Jon left work at Old Chicago because he was having trouble with a contact lens. Later that day, Pollard said, Jon called. Jon told Pollard "his son had asthma or was having breathing problems or something," Pollard said.Jon did not return to work that day, he said.
2:13 p.m. Before the jury walked into the courtroom and the trial resumed, an unrelated sentencing case was heard in which the family members of the defendant became extremely emotional. Family members fell to the ground crying and yelled out claims of racism against the judge. The jury for the Phillips case likely heard the family's loud cries, the defense attorney argued, as their holding room is adjacent to the courtroom.The judge, under the request of the defense attorney, asked the jury to disregard that scene in order to prevent any bias.The next witness will testify via conference phone from Kentucky. He was Jon Phillips' manager when he worked at Old Chicago.
12:10 p.m. The trial has recessed for lunch. 11:55 a.m. The defendant's brother, David Phillips, recalled the Easter celebration by saying that Chandler had a faint black eye. When David asked how Chandler got the black eye, Jon told him it was because Chandler had been hitting himself in the head in the shower.Chandler had also been grounded, David said. When David asked Jon about why Chandler was grounded he said it was because Chandler had been punching himself and then blaming Sara for it.When asked about the Easter dinner, David said Chandler ate oatmeal as part of his punishment instead of the dinner.Under defense questioning, David said he now takes care of a cat that Jon gave him. The cat has a tendency to defecate anywhere but the litter box, David said.The cat will go on the carpet and, David said was "constantly cleaning up after it." The defense questioning seems to be explaining police reports that the Phillips house had feces on the walls and smelled of urine, by suggesting it was from the cat.During cross, the prosecutor asked if David had any trouble cleaning up after the cat or if his house smelt of feces or had feces smeared on the walls."No," he answered.
11:20 a.m. The trial has resumed with testimony by the defendant's father, Timothy Jon Phillips.Timothy was asked by prosecutors about Easter 2007. Chandler looked fine, Timothy said. "He looked down," Timothy said. "He was grounded."Turning to the night Chandler died, the prosecutor asked Timothy about pictures of Chandler after he died. "This is really hard," Timothy said reflecting on the photos."He was skin and bones" the prosecutor asked again. "Yes," Timothy replied.Becoming more forceful in tone the prosecutor asked if Chandler didn't look anything at all like he normally did -- to an alarming extent."Yes," Timothy replied.
10:50 a.m. The trial has taken a break and will resume at 11:10.
9:50 a.m. Jon Phillips mother, Christine Phillips, was called to the stand. Prosecutors asked her about Easter 2007 when Chandler, his half-brother and Jon Phillips came over to celebrate the holiday. Jon Phillips told his mother that Chandler was grounded because he had "been acting up" at home and at school. The prosecutor then asked Christine Phillips if she was aware that Chandler had been pulled out of school a month before. She replied "no." She also said that Chandler was not allowed to eat the Easter dinner. He had oatmeal instead, his favorite food, she said.Christine said Chander looked to be in good health and was able to play some with the other children at the Easter gathering.The prosecutor also asked Christine Phillips about the day Chandler died. She said Jon called and said that Chandler "was sick and they called 911 and Jon was trying to save him and they weren't able to save him." Christine Phillips was not allowed to see Jon because "they (the police) took him away." Christine was asked to take Dominik home for the night and to take him to the police station the next day. When they arrived at the police station, the detectives questioned Dominik, she said, and then told the grandparents authorities were taking him into their custody. Christine cried when she said they were only allowed to say goodbye if they "promised not to be emotional."Christine Phillips fought back tears when she testified about the day she was asked to identify Chandler's body. She said she saw his face and that he "looked thin." The prosecutor asked, Chandler was just "skin and bones, right?"Christine replied, "He looked thin, yes." The prosecutor asked if she had seen Chandler that thin, would she have taken him to a doctor? Fighting tears, she replied, "Yes."
9:00 a.m. The trial began with testimony from a former employee of Old Chicago and coworker of Jon Phillips. Angelica Velasco also babysat Chandler Grafner up to five times in 2006 and 2007.She testified that she thought both Chandler and his half-brother were small for their age. Velasco also testified about an instance when she was babysitting the boys at Old Chicago.Chandler asked for food and when she told Phillips, he told her that both children had already eaten and could not have any more food. Velasco said he used a tone that she felt was "deep" and stronger than she thought necessary.Velasco said she gave the boys some french fries despite Jon's orders not to.The defense asked if Velasco had any concerns for the safety of the children. She replied no.Velasco said the last time she saw the kids was in March 2007. She said after talking with Chandler's parents, she did not have any safety concerns for the children because the parents told her they were okay.
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