By Debra Minor Wilson
Times West Virginian
Phillip Reese Bush will stand trial May 15 for the triple Windmill Park homicides of 1974.
Arraigned Wednesday morning before retired Marion County Circuit Judge Fred L. Fox, Bush pleaded not guilty to all four counts of the indictment handed down on Feb. 22 by a special Marion County grand jury: three counts of first-degree murder and one count of conspiracy to commit a felony.
He is charged with the execution-style murders of Fairmont residents Guy Lester Phillips, 20, and his wife, Wanda Jane Phillips, 19, and Billy Ray Cobb, 27. Their lifeless bodies were found early Aug. 2, 1974, at the Fairmont park by groundskeepers.
After hearing Bush’s plea, Fox set the trial date at May 15 and asked defense attorney David Grunau if he wanted a continuance to the June term of Marion County Circuit Court.
“This is an almost 40-year-old case,” Grunau told Fox. “I will need additional time to investigate it. But I will let the date set and will file motions as they become necessary.”
Capitol murder carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. Conspiracy has a penalty of one to five years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000 or both.
The 64-year-old Bush waived a reading of the indictment before entering his plea.
Both Marion County Prosecuting Attorney Patrick N. Wilson and Grunau agreed that denying Bush bond was moot.
Bush is serving life sentences without mercy at the Mt. Olive Correctional Complex in Fayette County for the conviction of a 1982 double homicide in Fairmont.
“Bond should not be set,” Wilson said.