Archive for Sunday, September 10, 2006

Former fugitive appears in court

September 10, 2006

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— A former fugitive suspected of fatally shooting a state trooper and wounding two others made his first court appearances Saturday, a day after surrendering in a field over the Pennsylvania state line following a five-month manhunt.

Ralph "Bucky" Phillips, who once threatened to "splatter pig meat all over Chautauqua County" in upstate New York and was on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted List, was charged in Chemung County with eight counts, including attempted aggravated murder, first-degree attempted murder and second-degree attempted murder, all in connection with the shooting of a state trooper in June.

Phillips, 44, did not enter a plea.

Dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit, the exhausted and unshaven suspect either looked at the floor or closed his eyes during the 12-minute arraignment. He was shackled at the ankles, with his wrists handcuffed, and was flanked by armed guards. Earlier in the day, he was turned over to state police after appearing before a federal judge in Buffalo.

"He will get his day in court, and he will be held accountable," said Dist. Atty. John Trice.

Phillips, a career thief who has spent 20 of the past 23 years in state prison, surrendered Friday night, five months after police said he used a can opener to cut his way through a jail ceiling. The arrest capped one of the state's largest manhunts in history after a frantic day that included troopers firing at Phillips as he hid in woods.

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