The son of the woman accused in the brutal killing of former York mayor and attorney Melvin Roberts has been arrested on an unrelated charge.
William Hunter Stephens, 47, of Gaffney remains in jail on a fraud charge related to more than $12,000 on a credit card opened in Julia Phillips' dead husband's name.
Phillips, 67, was charged with murder in the Feb. 4, 2010, strangulation death of her longtime boyfriend 79-year-old Roberts outside his York home.
Prosecutors have said Phillips had a financial motive to kill Roberts and have charged her with stealing rent money owed to her longtime boyfriend's realty company.
Stephens was arrested Monday and charged with financial transaction card fraud. The charge stems from an incident report filed in June, in which Phillips' stepdaughter Lori Gaffney alleged several credit cards and accounts were opened in her dead father's name.
Although Phillips and Stephens are listed as suspects on the incident report, Gaffney police have only charged Stephens, said Detective Jonathan Blackwell.
"The credit cards were opened in Bryant Phillips' name well after his death. One opened in 2008 now carries a debt of more than $12,000," Blackwell said.
After a nine-month investigation, Stephens was arrested, Blackwell said. He could not say if Julia Phillips would be charged.
"It's still an open investigation," he said.
Phillips' husband, Edward Bryant Phillips, died June 2, 1999. After Julia Phillips was charged in the Roberts killing, Cherokee County Coroner Dennis Fowler exhumed Bryan Phillips' remains. His death was blamed on congestive heart failure, but no complete autopsy was performed at the time. Results from the investigation in his death have not been released. Fowler calls the investigation "ongoing."
Police arrested Julia Phillips a couple months after Roberts was strangled with a zip tie, hit in the head with a blunt object and shot at. Julia Phillips claimed to be a robbery victim in that incident. Through her changing stories and evidence at the scene, investigators linked her to the crime.
Prosecutors have said they do not think Julia Phillips acted alone in the killing, and her attorney Bobby Frederick said in past hearings that police thought Stephens might be involved.
Officers haven't been able to tie Stephens to the scene through DNA evidence, and phone records show he was apparently outside of York County at the time of the Roberts' death, according to evidence presented in court.
Julia Phillips is on house arrest while she waits for trial. A judge this week issued a ruling to modify her bond so she can leave Cherokee County to attend doctor appointments in Spartanburg.
Stephens was arrested and charged with driving under suspension last May. He is still facing a prescription drug fraud-related charge, according to court records. According to the State Law Enforcement Division, Stephens' criminal history includes charges related to acquiring medication and drugs by false pretense.
He was being held Wednesday in jail in Cherokee County on $10,000 bond.