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'Way too much evidence' | Suspect in 2021 murder of Spokane mother pleads guilty

Joshua Phillips pleaded guilty to 1st-degree aggravated murder and 1st-degree attempted murder for the death of his ex-girlfriend and the stabbing of her daughter.

SPOKANE, Wash. — The man who stabbed and killed his ex-girlfriend and stabbed her young daughter in 2021 has pled guilty to the charges against him.

Joshua Phillips is charged with first-degree aggravated murder and first-degree attempted murder for the death of his ex-girlfriend, Kassie and the stabbing of her 5-year-old daughter, Lilly. KREM 2 is intentionally not sharing the victims' last names to protect the child's privacy.

Kassie was found dead in her home on North Adams Street on Sunday, April 11, 2021. The Spokane County Medical Examiner said Kassie died from multiple stab wounds and confirmed her manner of death as a homicide.

Her daughter, Lilly, was hospitalized after suffering injuries in the attack. Medical staff told police Lilly had been stabbed 7-10 times and required immediate surgery, according to documents. A medic told police Lilly was talking while being transported to the hospital and said, “the man stabbed me."

Lilly was in the hospital for nearly a month after the attack, some of the time she spent on life support, but she was later taken off life support and returned home.

Kassie’s family and friends feel some relief they won’t have to sit through a trial, let alone see Lilly testify about the attack. Kim Domitrovich, one of Kassie's close friends, told KREM 2 she wasn’t surprised Phillips pleaded guilty. 

“There was way too much evidence against Josh and he knew it," she said. "I felt like she was one of my daughters. To have to go through that trial and have to look at him day after day, that would’ve ripped that family apart, they’re already so heartbroken and devastated."

Domitrovich said she wants to remember Kassie for the kind, free spirit she was her whole life.

"Kassie was one of the most beautiful souls. She was a free spirit, she had three beautiful children," she said. "If I needed somebody on my team, she'd be the one I'd call. I mean, she was just a lovely spirit."

Court documents released after the attack revealed Kassie ended her relationship with Phillips two days before her death. Her family also changed the locks on the home to prevent Phillips from getting inside. 

Investigators also learned that Kassie had apparently received about 100 text messages from Phillips on Saturday, April 10, one day before her death. One of the investigators was told that some of the text messages sent by Phillips were “very disturbing.”

In October 2021, Phillips was found competent to stand trial for the murder and attack. The competency report showed Phillips had the capacity to understand the nature of the legal proceedings.  

Phillips's sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 3. The maximum sentence for first-degree murder is nearly 27 years, and the maximum for attempted murder is 20 years.

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