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Plan to rob a man in church parking lot turned deadly. Now the Derby man will go to jail

A Sedgwick County judge sentenced an 18-year-old Derby man to 27 1/2 years in prison for the fatal shooting of a 34-year-old Wichita man last year, said Dan Dillon, a spokesman for the Sedgwick County Prosecutor. Desk.

Philip Lee Walls, whose name is also spelled “Phillip” in police and court records, pleaded guilty March 11 to second-degree intentional murder, attempted robbery and aggravated kidnapping in the death of Daniel McPherson in December 2023. Walls and another man, James Giovanni Lee Sawyer, 20, were arrested in Oklahoma, after going to a hospital there so Walls could be treated for a gunshot wound. On December 6, 2023, around 2 a.m., Oklahoma authorities notified the Sedgwick County Emergency Team, who in turn contacted the Wichita Police Department.

Police found McPherson dead from a gunshot wound to the head near a church at 1755 E. MacArthur, near Hydraulic, after receiving reports that his body was there.

Sawyer, who is charged with first-degree murder and two counts of attempted robbery, has pleaded not guilty to his charges, according to court records. His trial is set for August 26.

A factual basis for Walls’ plea that was attached to his plea agreement gives the following account of the murder:

Walls and Sawyer decided to rob McPherson of drugs or other property on December 5, 2023, and exchanged text messages and spoke in person about their plans, which included bringing a gun and having McPherson sit in their vehicle with a belt around their neck while they stole it.

They talked about using the gun as “a last resort because they didn’t want to have to deal with a ‘body,'” the factual basis states.

That night, they invited McPherson into the car and drove to an empty parking lot next to the church. When Sawyer put the belt around McPherson’s neck and head in an attempt to rob him, McPherson pulled out a gun and shot Walls, who was in the driver’s seat. Sawyer then allegedly pulled out a .38 caliber revolver and shot McPherson several times. At least one bullet hit McPherson’s head.

Walls and Sawyer then dumped McPherson’s body and left, met a girlfriend and eventually went to Oklahoma Hospital “because they didn’t want to attract the attention of law enforcement by seeking treatment for Walls’ injuries in the Wichita area,” according to the factual basis.

On Friday, Sedgwick County District Judge Jeffrey Goering told Walls he would serve consecutive 165-month prison sentences for each of the murder and kidnapping counts. The 34-month sentence he ordered for attempted robbery will be served concurrently with the others, Dillon said.

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