In the minutes after she ran over her baby’s father, Tasha Yolanda Phillips, who was seven-months pregnant, called 911.
She screamed and yelled as a Macon emergency dispatcher tried to talk to her.
Phillips could be heard yelling the dying 24-year-old father’s name: “Pale, look at me. We’ve got a baby. Stay with me. Stay with me. Stay with me.”
Earlier that night, just after 10 p.m. on May 9, 2014, Phillips and Martegus “Pale” Johnson had argued inside Phillips’ Ford Explorer. Phillips’ 4-year-old son was strapped in the back seat. A friend was also in the SUV.
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Phillips, now 33, contends that she told Johnson she wanted to break up and end a relationship that had been rife with violence, and that when she did he struck her in the face with a gun.
The friend and Johnson got out on Cherokee Avenue near the Pio Nono Avenue post office, just up from Napier Avenue.
Phillips claims she told Johnson that she was going to report him to the police and Johnson responded, threatening to kill Phillips, her five children and the baby she was carrying.
Surveillance cameras from a nearby car lot and at the post office captured footage of Phillips making a U-turn on Pio Nono as she began chasing Johnson, who ran.
The SUV jumped a curb after running over Johnson and dragging him, prosecutor Shelley Milton said during a Tuesday sentencing hearing for Phillips, who pleaded guilty last week to voluntary manslaughter.
If the case had gone to trial, jurors would have heard two witnesses testify about an incident on May 8, 2014, in which they allege Phillips had previously tried to run over Johnson, prosecutor Shelley Milton said.
Defense attorney Debra Gomez said evidence shows Phillips hit the brakes 19 feet before she ran over Johnson. Phillips, who has been diagnosed with battered person’s syndrome and post-traumatic stress disorder, doesn’t remember braking or running over Johnson.
In sentencing Phillips, Bibb County Superior Court Judge Howard Simms said he doesn’t think Phillips hit the brakes to stop the car, but instead thinks she did it to ensure she “hit the target.”
“He was gone. … At that moment there was nothing he could do to you,” the judge told Phillips. “You chose, whether you remember it or not, to kill him.”
Simms sentenced Phillips to 20 years, 10 of them in prison. Phillips, who had been charged with murder, had accepted a plea bargain limiting her prison time to 15 years.
Gomez said Phillips pleaded guilty because it was in her best interest, considering the possible outcomes of a jury trial. She will get credit for the nearly three years she has served at the Bibb County jail awaiting trial.
If the case had gone to trial, jurors would have heard two witnesses testify about an incident on May 8, 2014, in which they allege Phillips had previously tried to run over Johnson, Milton said.
Gomez, the defense attorney, said she has a witness who disputes the allegation.
Phillips has contended that Johnson was violent toward her in the year leading up to his death, including an incident in which he shoved a gun into her mouth. Witnesses testified during Tuesday’s hearing about the violence.
Speaking during the hearing, Phillips said Johnson sat on her belly May 8, 2014, threatening to kill their unborn child. Also that day, he threatened to hit her with a brick when she tried to call the police, she said.
Phillips apologized to the many members of Johnson’s family who sat in the courtroom. She said she is “remorseful” for the pain the situation caused.
Several of Phillips’ relatives pleaded for mercy on her behalf.
Teresa Johnson, Martegus Johnson’s aunt, said her family wants justice and for the good in her nephew’s life to be remembered.
Johnson’s mother, Eula Fay Johnson, said she hopes her son “haunts” Phillips for the rest of her life.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report.