RICHMOND — The suspect in the shooting of a Richmond police officer is what some would call a 'career criminal' with convictions dating back to 1994.
Phillip M. Lee, 47, of Richmond has served more than 20 years in prison for different crimes, according to records obtained by WRTV Investigates, and had just been released from prison on December 31, 2021 after serving 3.5 years in state prison on drug offenses.
Records show Phillip Lee has been in and out of prison since 1994 and his twin brother, Mike Lee, tells WRTV his trouble with the law started way before that.
"He’s been locked up since he was 14 years old," said Mike Lee. “I’m not saying he’s innocent at all. He’s a habitual offender. He only knows prison life.”
Mike Lee said his brother turned to drugs to cope with being back in society after being released from prison.
“He stayed here a few weeks, and the whole time he’s crying and scared and he don’t like to be around crowds,” said Mike Lee. “He confessed ‘this is too much. I’m overwhelmed. Too much.’”
Phillip Lee's most recent conviction was in 2018. He was initially charged with Unlawful Possession of a Firearm By a Serious Violent Felon but prosecutors dismissed the charge as part of a plea agreement.
In that case, Lee pleaded guilty to possession of a syringe and possession of a narcotic and was sentenced to a total of 4 years.
As part of that same sentencing, the judge found Phillip Lee to be a habitual offender, which added three years to his sentence.
IDOC records show was released from prison on 12/31/2021 after serving 3.5 years behind bars.
Court records show when Phillip Lee was charged in the 2018 case, he was still on parole from his 2014 conviction for attempted burglary and resisting law enforcement.
The year before, in 2017, Phillip Lee was convicted of resisting law enforcement but did not have to serve time behind bars as part of his sentence.
Indiana Department of Correction records show the following convictions for Phillip Lee.
- 2018- Wayne County- Possession of Syringes/Needles, Possession of Cocaine or Narcotic Drug
- 2017- Wayne County- Resisting Law Enforcement
- 2014-Randolph County- Escape, Burglary
- 2014- Wayne County- Attempted Burglary,
- 2004- Randolph County- Burglary, Escape
- 2003- Randolph County- Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Marijuana/Hash/Hash Oil, Possession Paraphernalia
- 2002- Wayne County- Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Cocaine or Narcotic Drug
- 1998- Wayne County- Burglary, Perjury
- 1995- Wayne County- Perjury
- 1994 – Wayne County- Perjury
IDOC records obtained by WRTV Investigates show Phillip Lee has served roughly 20 years behind bars.
Including the following sentences between 1994 and 2018.
- Intake: 2/28/1994
- Release: 4/10/1997
- Served at Pendleton Correctional Facility and Putnamville Correctional Facility
- Intake: 6/11/1998
- Release: 6/28/2000
- Served at Westville Correctional Facility and Wabash Valley Correctional Facility
- Intake: 9/25/2002
- Release: 11/29/2012
- Served at Pendleton Correctional Facility, Indiana State Prison, Wabash Valley Correctional Facility, Putnamville Correctional Facility and New Castle Correctional Facility
- Intake: 6/26/2014
- Release: 3/25/2017
- Served at Correctional Industrial Facility
- Intake: 5/23/2018
- Release: 12/31/2021
- Served at Miami Correctional Facility and Correctional Industrial Facility
Mike Lee said his brother was also shot during Wednesday’s traffic stop and is still alive. Police say Phillip Lee was taken to Reid Health where he was treated. He's charged in connection with the shooting that critically injured Officer Seara Burton.
“He’s just lost,” said Mike Lee. “How do you come out of prison with a record like that. Where you going?”
Mike Lee said his brother's criminal history didn't start as an adult. He said his brother has been dealing with criminal charges since he was a teenager.
"He’s been locked up since he was 14 years old," said Mike Lee.