Episode 018 - The Murder of Garrett Phillips


Twelve year old Garrett Phillips walked the five blocks home from school during the early evening hours of October 24th, 2011. Shortly after arriving at the second floor apartment where he lived with his mother and half-brother, an unknown assailant attacked and strangled him. Though Garrett survived the initial attack, he would pass away two hours later at Canton-Potsdam Hospital.

Almost immediately, police zeroed in on a single suspect: Oral “Nick” Hillary, Garrett’s mother, Tandy Cyrus’ ex-boyfriend. Despite the possibility of other suspects, and no physical evidence tying Hillary to the crime, he would remain the prime suspect for several years until a new, upstart candidate won the position of St. Lawrence County District Attorney and indicted him on charges of second degree murder. The town became split, with many believing Hillary was guilty, and others standing by his side and arguing that one of Tandy’s other ex-boyfriends may have been responsible: Sheriff’s Deputy John Jones.

Fingerprints and DNA evidence were recovered from the scene of the crime, and police theorize that the killer gained entry to the apartment and escaped via a second floor window, dropping twenty feet down to the pavement. Both Jones and Hillary had previously possessed keys to the apartment, and both had difficult breakups with Tandy. After a two week trial, Hillary was acquitted on all charges in 2016 due to a lack of evidence.

All of these years later, and many still believe Hillary is guilty, regardless of being found innocent, while others feel the police railroaded Hillary to cover-up for one of their own. Five years after this monstrous crime, and there have been no answers nor justice found for Garrett Phillips. Did Nick Hillary murder his ex-girlfriends son, blaming him for the breakup? Did John Jones concoct a plan and kill twelve year old Garrett in order to punish Tandy and frame Hillary? Or did a yet unknown suspect commit this disturbing crime and skate away scot-free when police focused their investigation elsewhere?

Join host Steven Pacheco as he examines the very disturbing murder of twelve year old Garrett Phillips and the ensuing storm of political manipulation, evidence contamination and an investigation with tunnel vision.

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