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Attorney says evidence scant in student's death

Author(s): TIM TALLRY Date: September 15, 1988 Section: N1IWS

The attorney for a man accused of killing a Jimmy Swaggart Bible College student more than two years ago said Wednesday that prosecutors don't have enough evidence to convict his client. Pdward Redditt, 29, was indicted in January 1987 for second-degree murder in connection with the death of John M. Phillips, 21, of Radclifle, Ky. Redditt is one of four men accused of shooting Phillips to death on June 11,1986.

Redditt's attorney, Thomas C. D'Amico, appeared before state District Court Judge Freddie Pitcher Jr. Wednesday on a pre-trial motion he tiled to obtain information on the case from prosecutors to help him prepare for Redditt's trial, which is scheduled for Sept. 26.

Afterward, D'Amico said he believes the DA's office doesn't have enough evidence to convict Redditt of Phillips' murder or to even try him on the murder charge.

"I don't think they have enough evidence to take him to court," D'Amico said. lie said the only evidence prosecutors have are statements by the co-defendants in the case. The statements are inconsistent and are not solid enough to convict Redditt, he said.

"I think that those statements aren't enough," he said.

Attempts to reach Assistant District Attorney Robert Peidrahita, who is prosecuting Redditt, were unsuccessful.

Redditt is free on bond pending the outcome of the case.

Phillips, who came to Baton Rouge to enroll in the Bible college, was robbed and shot twice in the head during what authorities said was an attempt by Phillips to purchase illegal drugs.

Phillips had strayed tar from the Bible college's campus on Bluebonnet Road when he was killed at 550 Oklahoma St., investigators said.

Redditt was charged with the murder along with Alfred Foreman, 19; Angus [;. Carter, 21; and John I;. Rogers, 23.

Foreman pleaded guilty to second-degree murder last March and received the mandatory sentence of life in prison without the benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence. He is believed to have tired the shots that killed Phillips.

Carter and Rogers, who were indicted with Redditt for second-degree murder, are awaiting trial.

Copyright 1988 Capital City Press, Baton Rouge, La.

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