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Couple charged with extortion waived to grand jury

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Wife jailed at court hearing after failed drug screen

By Lisa King

One member of a husband-wife duo charged with extortion is back in jail after a hearing in Shelby District Court on Thursday in which the case was waived to the grand jury.

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As Dee A. Bowman-Phillps, with downcast eyes, held out her arms to be handcuffed, her husband, Joshua Phillips, ventured timidly forward from where he was sitting behind his attorney, to hand her a jacket she had left behind.

Shelby District Judge Linda Armstrong ordered Bowman-Phillips, 27, to be taken back into custody after she failed a drug screen, one of the conditions of her bond.

Her attorney, public defender Melanie Lowe, had asked Armstrong to let Bowman-Phillips remain out on bond until her next drug screen to see what it yielded, but Armstrong declined that request.

“I’m don’t know that I’m comfortable doing that,” Armstrong said.

The couple, residents of Baker Drive, were out on bond after being arrested by Kentucky State Police on Dec. 10 in Shelbyville and charged with theft by extortion, first-degree possession of a controlled substance first offense, buy/possess drug paraphernalia and endangering the welfare of a minor.

According to a KSP uniform citation, Phillips, 30, admitted to extorting between $800 and $1,700 cash from Todd Walls, a Jefferson County resident and Taylorsville Police officer. The citation also states that Bowman-Phillips is complicit in the theft.

Officials said Walls was not on duty during the time of the alleged incidents and that there is no apparent connection to the Taylorsville Police Department.

It is unclear as to where the alleged incidents occurred. The case originally appeared on the Spencer County District Court docket and was transferred to Shelby County.

Spencer County Circuit Court Clerk Becky Robinson said the state trooper that completed the citation erroneously reported the incidents having taken place in Spencer County when they should have been filed under Shelby County.

According to court documents, Phillips allegedly threatened to distribute photos to Walls’ family, employer and to the media that could damage his reputation if he did not pay the required amount of money.

Phillips consented to state police’s searching his residence, which, according to the citation, resulted in police’s locating two prescription pill bottles and a red straw used for snorting crushed pills.

According to Bowman-Phillips’ arrest citation, she had two prescription pill bottles on her person when arrested. One contained half of an Opana and the other bottle contained a whole pill. The report said she also had a red straw that had been cut short, which was used for snorting crushed pills.

Bowman-Phillips told police she and Phillips had purchased the pills and that each had snorted half a pill, according to the citation. A 5-month-old female under the couple’s care was also in the residence during the search.

The Spencer Magnetcontacted Walls, who said he had been advised not to comment. He did, however, maintain that the case is in no way connected with the Taylorsville Police Department.

Police Chief Toby Lewis said Walls is not under any type of internal investigation in relation to the case.

“From our standpoint the Kentucky State Police are conducting the investigation,” Lewis said. “When theirs is closed, we can look at it administratively.”

Phillips’ attorney, Liz Curtin of La Grange, declined to comment on the case.