Taylor Wheeler

Taylor Wheeler

ANDERSON — The last person charged in the 2018 killings of David L. Phillips II and Trinity Parker has entered a guilty plea.

Taylor Wheeler, 25, entered pleas of guilty to two amended counts of assisting a criminal, a Level 5 felony, on Friday in Madison Circuit Court Division 6.

Judge Mark Dudley accepted the terms of the plea agreement, giving Wheeler a total of six years on the two charges.

She was sentenced to time served at the Madison County Jail since August 2018, with the remainder of the sentence being served on formal probation. That includes regular contact with a probation officer and following restrictions set by the court.

The Madison County prosecutor’s office amended the charges against Wheeler, dismissing counts of murder and criminal confinement with a deadly weapon. Deputy Prosecutor Daniel Kopp said Wheeler was an accessory after the fact in the slayings.

In July 2018 David Roberts, who was wanted on a warrant, was contacted by Daniel Jones and offered a school bus as a place to hide out, the deputy prosecutor said.

Roberts asked if Parker could hang out with him, and Jones said Parker was a “snitch.”

Kopp said Jones and Jordan Zirkle threatened Roberts with a gun and told him he had a choice between his life and Parker’s.

Roberts contacted Parker, and the three men picked her up at a motel in Anderson. After driving around for several hours, they took Parker to an abandoned house in Grant County.

Kopp said it was there that Jones shot Parker in the head twice.

Roberts was originally charged with murder, but the state agreed to the plea on the voluntary manslaughter charge because he was threatened with a gun.

Kopp said Brittany Vontress-Cox drove Phillips, Zirkle and Jones to the Rangeline Nature Preserve in July 2018. It was there that Jones shot Phillips.

Phillips’ partially decomposed body was found in 2018 at the nature preserve by Madison County Sheriff’s Department detectives. The 35-year-old Anderson man had been shot twice in the head with a .22-caliber handgun.

Two days later, Jones, who was already in custody at the Madison County Jail on an unrelated weapons charge, led investigators to an abandoned house just across the Grant County line where Parker’s badly decomposed body was found.

Last month, Judge Dudley sentenced Roberts, 40, to a 20-year executed sentence on a Level 2 felony charge of voluntary manslaughter. The executed sentence means Robers must serve the 20 years in the Indiana Department of Correction.

Also last month, Dudley sentenced Vontress-Cox, 33, to 12 years in prison after she pleaded guilty to a Level 3 felony charge of aiding kidnapping with a deadly weapon.

She will serve nine years of the sentence with the DOC and three years on probation.

Jones entered a plea of guilty to two counts of murder and was sentenced by Dudley to 120 years in prison. Zirkle was found guilty of Level 1 felony aiding, inducing or causing murder in the shooting death. He was sentenced to 55 years in prison.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

Trending Video

Senior Reporter covering Anderson and Madison County government, politics and auto racing for The Herald Bulletin. Has been working as a journalist in central Indiana since 1977.