Aunt claims brothers charged in shooting murder confessed to her - WSMV Channel 4

Aunt claims brothers charged in shooting murder confessed to her

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CLARKSVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Wednesday was an emotional day in court for a family who had to face the two men suspected of killing their loved one. James Ray was found shot in his car last week after he crashed into a house on Westchester Drive. Police said it was a robbery turned murder set up by two brothers.

Brandon and Stephen Phillips are charged in the shooting death of Ray.

"It's just something you prepare for as best you can," said the victim's pastor, Kris Freeman, speaking about Ray's family. "With everyone surrounding them as a support system, I know they'll be fine, and that's what we're here for today."

"Our investigation began with Mr. Ray's cell phone which led us to Stephen Phillips," said Metro Police Investigator Russell Thompson, speaking on the stand.

According to police, Stephen Phillips had arranged to meet with Ray on the night Ray was murdered. With Ray behind the wheel and Stephen as his passenger, police said Brandon followed the car to Westchester Drive where Brandon tried to rob Ray and shot him. Speaking to the court, the brothers' aunt said Stephen came to her home sometime after the murder, telling her what happened.

"They said they tried to rob him," said the brothers' aunt. "That's when he said Brandon shot the guy. He wasn't trying to shoot the guy."

According to the brothers' aunt, Stephen confessed to coming up with the plot to rob Ray with his brother at the Dickson Pike Wal-Mart. Surveillance video obtained by police shows the Phillips brothers at Wal-Mart during the time in question.

While family of Ray said they were too upset to speak, friends said a support group is getting them through the painful court appearances.

"I'm thankful for all the people around them who supported them," said Freeman. "I think that's going to go for a long time."

According to police, past charges for the brothers have been minor, with Stephen being charged with prostitution. After hearing the testimony, the judge bound the case over to the grand jury.

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