A man accused of murdering his 64-year-old aunt argued with her before she died, telling his girlfriend he killed her and “felt calm about it,” court documents show.
Phillip Michael Potts, 23, was charged Wednesday in Oklahoma County with one count of first-degree murder in connection with the Feb. 13 death of Violet Hemphill.
Potts' girlfriend, Cierra Steed, 22, told detectives that Potts got into an argument with his aunt and became so angry he tore up the living room of the victim's Midwest City home, according to a probable cause affidavit. It was not clear what the argument involved.
Potts then ran into his aunt's bedroom and started fighting with her, Steed told police, adding that he got a knife from the kitchen and returned to his aunt's bedroom.
When Potts emerged from the bedroom he told Steed “he needed a blunt object,” police reported.
At one point Steed told police she heard a “gurgling sound” coming from the back of the house.
When Potts emerged from the bedroom a second time, Steed “asked him if he had killed her and he responded he had and that he felt calm about it,” the affidavit shows.
Steed also told police she “observed blood all over the room and Violet Hemphill not moving,” and said she could not see the body because it was covered with a blanket.
Steed has denied any involvement in Hemphill's death and will not be charged in the case, Midwest City police said Wednesday.
Hemphill died from multiple sharp force injuries to the head and chest, according to the state medical examiner. She was found dead inside her home with a large chest wound and an ax lying by her side.
“Numerous bloody weapons were located around the victim which are believed to have been used to murder her,” the affidavit states.
Police also recovered a handwritten suicide note signed by Potts and a pair of men's jeans that “appeared to be covered in blood,” documents show. Steed told police Potts was wearing a pair of black Dickies-type pants when the murder occurred.
Police found Potts and Steed nude and unconscious in another bedroom. The two tried to commit suicide after the slaying by overdosing on drugs and inhaling natural gas, police said.
Police said the controls on the stove had been deliberately turned on to fill the house with gas, and an attempt was made to “rig a light switch in the kitchen as an ignition source to possibly blow up the residence.”
Potts and Steed told detectives they had stayed with Hemphill for a few days because “they had nowhere else to go.”