A grand jury on Thursday indicted the girlfriend of slain former York mayor Melvin Roberts on a charge alleging she stole $2,000 in rent money from Roberts' property company, according to court officials.
Julia Phillips, 66, was charged with murder in May in the strangling death of Roberts, a legendary lawyer for more than a half century who was killed in February outside his home in York.
Prosecutors have said in court that money could be a motive in the killing after Roberts, 79, threatened to end the relationship and stopped bankrolling Phillips' business and covering her personal debts.
A Cherokee County grand jury issued the true bill of indictment for breach of trust against Phillips, said Brandy McBee, Cherokee County Clerk of Court.
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In an August court hearing in that case, police and prosecutors in Gaffney alleged Phillips collected rent on an apartment for Roberts Realty. Over five months starting in October 2009, they said, she took $2,000 in cash without turning it over to the property company or making any record that the apartment was occupied.
Bobby Frederick, the Myrtle Beach lawyer representing Phillips in both the murder case and the breach of trust case, declined comment Thursday.
Michael Morin, the 7th Circuit assistant solicitor handling the breach of trust case, said no trial date has been set. He did not know of other charges pending in Gaffney.
Prosecutors have said in court they believe Phillips did not act alone in the killing of Roberts, but no other arrests have been made.
Roberts was found Feb. 4 with a tie around his neck and head injuries, police said. Phillips told police she was the victim of a robbery, but police later said investigators suspected immediately her story was a hoax.
Phillips had lived with Roberts in York for about 10 years before Roberts was killed.
She ran a clothing business in Gaffney in a building owned by Roberts that Phillips stood to inherit after Roberts' death.
Phillips remains under house arrest and electronic monitoring in Gaffney, living in the home she once shared with her late husband. Bryant Phillips died in 1999, but since Roberts' death Cherokee County Coroner Dennis Fowler exhumed Bryant Phillips' body for toxicology tests. Those tests are pending.
Bryant Phillips' daughters also filed suit against Phillips in probate court, attempting to have her evicted from the Gaffney home. Phillips was evicted, but she remains in the home pending her appeal of a probate judge's eviction order.