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20 Years In Kentucky Gay Slaying
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: March 1, 2005  2:02 pm. ET



(Elizabethtown, Kentucky) A Kentucky man who murdered and stuffed the body of a gay man into a suitcase before tossing it into a lake was sentenced Tuesday to 20 years behind bars.

Joshua Cottrell, 23, had confessed to the killing but claimed it was the result of gay rage after Richie Phillips, 36, "came on to him" in Cottrell's motel room. 

The suitcase containing Phillip's body was found floating in Rough River Lake last June by two fishermen.

Earlier this month a jury found Cottrell guilty of manslaughter not murder as the prosecution had sought. (story

The jury recommended that Cottrell be sentenced to 30 years in prison - 20 for the manslaughter conviction and another 10 for theft and evidence tampering, but state law limited Hardin County Circuit Judge Kelly Easton to sentencing Cottrell to a maximum of 20 years on the convictions.

Throughout the trial Cottrell's defense painted the accused as being the real victim in the case.

"This kid is not a killer," defense attorney Scott Drabenstadt said in closing arguments. "This kid is not a robber. Yes, he did some very inappropriate things with the body. ... But what set it all in motion, he was privileged to do. What set it in motion were the actions of a 36-year-old man."

But, prosecutor Chris Shaw said in his closing statements that Cottrell harbored a "steaming anger" toward gay men and lured Phillips to his motel room to kill him.

Shaw said Cottrell's "intent all along was to kill," and dispose of the body in a "cold, calculated" scheme to "get away with murder."

During the trial Cottrell's adoptive aunt, Wendy Cottrell McAnly testified that Cottrell confessed to her that he had planned Phillips' murder.

McAnly said her nephew told her that he killed Phillips on purpose and that he had lured Phillips into his motel room where he hit him, and then strangled hi

Cottrell will be eligible for parole in 2 1/2 years.

©365Gay.com 2005









 


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