Pack gets 25 years in murder case

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By Susan Sharp

The brashness Phillip Pack displayed at his trial in February was gone on Monday.

Sitting again at the defendant’s table but this time with his feet shackled, Pack waited for his sentence to be announced. Earlier this year a jury convicted him of second-degree murder in the death of Jayne Love. While his attorney, Keith Hatfield, had attempted to persuade the jury that Pack’s actions may have been callous, they didn’t rise to the level of criminal. However, the judge took a different view.

“This crime was coldly committed,” Criminal Court Judge Shayne Sexton said. Recounting testimony from the trial that Pack and his brother Russell had taken Love into the woods then left her to die, Sexton noted that aspect “was very troubling to the court.” Had the brothers, Phillip Pack in particular, sought medical assistance for Love, the situation could have ended differently, the judge said.

“For this reason the court is going to impose the maximum sentence of 25 years,” Sexton said as the courtroom became incredibly quiet.

Before the sentence was handed down, Pack’s father, Richard Pack, had taken the stand for his son.

In a voice so low, air conditioning in the room had to be silenced for him to be heard, Richard Pack testified his son had sporadically lived with him since reaching adulthood. He also said the 25- year-old didn’t have a history of violence.

When Senior Assistant District Attorney Mike Ripley asked the father if his son had any “drug related issues,” a downward glance accompanied his answer of “so they say.”

Despite Pack’s mother having been sworn to testify as well, she never took the stand.

After Richard Pack’s brief testimony, Ripley began his argument as to why the now convicted murderer should spend the maximum time allowed behind bars.

Pack has a previous criminal history, a record of non-compliance with the court and had been “the leader in the commission of the offense,” Ripley said. In fact, Pack was on a supervised release in May 2008 when he killed Love, the district attorney added into his argument.

Hatfield acknowledged his client had had issues following the law. However “certainly nothing of this gravity” existed in Pack’s criminal background, he said. He then asked for a 15-year sentence, the minimum under state law.

Preparing to rule, Sexton said that because of Pack’s conviction he was not entitled to probation leaving the only question unanswered was how long he would live behind bars.

Recognizing that Russell Pack, who was seated in the courtroom, had been “a lesser player” in the felony, Sexton said his opinion was that Phillip Pack had been in charge that night.

“I truly think this was a crime fueled by meth,” the judge said. Sexton also said he didn’t believe this was a first time use by the group but instead something that had occurred “time and time again.”

With the courtroom still exceedingly silent Sexton noted Pack was being sentenced as a violent offender making him ineligible for parole.