The Effigies….Chapter 2….

The re-enactment of William Phipps’ death was probably one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever shot. Luckily, I had the help (and mental support) of Chief Photographer Ryan Koresko.

Lacy and Reese pumped up the front tires and pulled the 1985 Chevrolet from a sea-going container in their backyard. I’m not sure it has moved since the night of the shooting.

I sat in the passenger’s side (where William had been) with Lacy in the driver’s seat – just as it was on September 5th, 1995. As we drove down Warren Road he described everything that happened that night while my camera rolled.

Admittedly, it was uncomfortable. They’ve run wires through the bullets trajectories. Every time the wire poked me in the back I just kept thinking about what taking a 7mm bullet must have felt like. TWO of them for that matter…

Outside Ryan was with Reese Phipps. Reese described the shooter’s actions as we drove by. Of course, Reese can only pass on this story from what he’s heard from his father Lacy.

They said it was a 3-prong attack by some of the people who they were in a land feud with. They say the first man was under the bridge, the second was standing on top of it. They shot simultaneously into the back of the car. William was hit in the back, Lacy in the head.

Lacy said the only reason they didn’t kill him was because, moments before the trigger was pulled, Lacy had shifted in his seat when William suddenly moved to reach for a cigarette.

Lacy says he kept going to get away. Suddenly, William started screaming out the name of the third shooter who he could see from his side of the car. In a panic, William started to grab the wheel to try to pull them into a ditch and get them out of the line of fire. Lacy never saw the shooter and started to fight William for the wheel. The car landed perpendicular to traffic, putting the back of the car directly in line with a nearby embankment (where they say the 3rd shooter was). Lacy says that’s when two shots went into the back of the car, killing William.

This is a COMPLETE contradiction from what the State Bureau of Investigators say they found. Remember, they say there was only one shooter who was standing on a ladder.

The Phipps’ say, that’s just impossible. To see if they had a case, I brought a 7-foot ladder with me. I stood on it with my camera to get the shooter’s perspective. Admittedly, its hard to see how someone could shoot directly into the back of the car from that angle and that height. BUT, I don’t know what that area looked like 15 years ago (trees and brush could have grown up) and I don’t know if he had climbed higher in the tree. From what I saw, you lose complete sight of the car rather quickly.

The only way to know would be to survey the scene with the lead investigator on the case: Sheriff Blake Wallace.

His response to my request: No.

The Phipps’ DID name the three shooters…but for legal reasons, I’m not allowed to name them. I did find those people to ask them bluntly whether they had any role in the shooting.

The first person was not happy to see me. He was calm at first but our conversation ended in him yelling at me and threatening to sue me. He told me that he had no role in the shooting but he did not think it was done by just one person.

He would not give an on-camera statement about his innocence. His reason: fear of retaliation. He said if he said a word, the Phipps’ would probably set something on fire or damage his property.

The other man whom the Phipps’ have accused is now dead.

Tomorrow night at 11…you’ll see what happened to the man who DID go on trial, Jimmy Coley, who was facing capital murder charges. What happened in that trail…was very usual indeed…

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