Pilot program underway to stop domestic violence offenders, didn't help latest victim
BATON ROUGE- A pilot program underway with the East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney's Office which assigns grades to domestic violence offenders did not help the parish's latest victim, who was killed last week by her boyfriend.
Brandon Phillips, the killer, was found dead in his jail cell on Sunday from an apparent suicide.
The program assigns letter grades to offenders - A through D - with A being the worst. In this case, District Attorney Hillar Moore said Phillips would have been given an A. However, the program is in the research stages still and is awaiting approval from the John Jay School of Criminal Justice in New York, according to Moore.
Currently, the pilot program is available for crimes inside the city limits of Baton Rouge and cases worked by the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office.
"We tier them from level A to D," Moore said. "Hopefully get that done quick enough to get it to the courts to help them make a better, more informed decision."
Last week, Phillips stabbed his girlfriend, Bridgette Seals, to death in Zachary. A troubling timeline emerged that showed Seals was choked by Phillips but survived that attack back in June.
"From all the research we have seen, strangulation is the key indicator that the next encounter could be deadly," Moore said.
Phillips was held on a $7,500 bond. That was reduced to $750 after psychologists evaluated him and determined he needed help for a drug problem. While he was out, Phillips defied a protective order and killed Seals.
"We are always looking for better ways to get more information so the courts and ourselves can have information so a judge puts the appropriate bond," Moore said. "Who needs to stay in jail, who does not need to get out. These are difficult questions to answer."
Moore said he hopes to get the program implemented by the end of the year if it gets the green light.
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