UPDATE: Menominee man sentenced to prison for second-degree murder

Phillips-Donavan will serve a minimum of 22 and a half years in prison.
Published: Sep. 1, 2021 at 12:11 PM EDT
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MENOMINEE, Mich. (WLUC) - UPDATE: Gary Phillips-Donovan was sentenced to a minimum of 22 and a half years in prison with a maximum of 40 years. Phillips-Donovan participated in the hearing Tuesday over Zoom.

He was originally charged with Homicide Open Murder and Home Invasion, but the defense and prosecuting attorneys came to a plea agreement. He was convicted of Second Degree Murder.

“I think the judge, as always, gave careful consideration to all the various factors set forth in the presentence investigation report and you heard him, he discharged his duties well with the four goals that we always try to attain in sentencing,” said Randall Philips, the defense attorney.

Phillips-Donovan beat his father, Michael Donovan, to death with a shovel in November 2019 in Harris Township. In August, Donovan pleaded “no contest.” Without a guilty plea, no motive was confirmed but the Menominee County Prosecutor says he believes he found a motive.

“We, the police and I, believe that he was seeking money to fuel his drug and alcohol habit,” said Jeffrey Rogg.

The court heard from family members who all had a similar message - they missed their loved one.

“I believe it was first degree. I believe you were waiting in that garage. You killed him with a shovel,” said Aaron Donovan, Gary Phillips-Donovan’s brother.

In his closing remarks, the judge said Phillips-Donovan “remained emotionless” during the hearing, calling the murder “horrific.”

“I believe that you deserve to be punished harshly and to the fullest extent of the law,” said Honorable Christopher Ninomiya, Menominee County’s 41st Circuit Court Judge.

Phillips-Donovan will be assigned to a state prison after he’s evaluated by the Michigan Department of Corrections.

MENOMINEE, Mich. (WLUC) - Following a Thursday morning status conference, the sentencing hearing for the Bark River man who beat his father to death two years ago has been adjourned until next month.

Previously scheduled for November 4, 2021, Gary Phillips-Donovan’s sentencing will now take place on December 7 at 10:15 a.m. CT.

TV6 will follow this story as it develops.

MENOMINEE, Mich. (WLUC) - A Bark River man has entered a plea for the beating death of his father in Menominee County nearly two years ago.

35-year-old Gary Phillips-Donovan was charged with Homicide Open Murder and two counts of Home Invasion in November 2019, for the beating death of his father, 74-year-old Michael Donovan.

On August 30, Phillips-Donovan pleaded no contest to the charge of Second Degree Murder. He previously had a jury trial scheduled for April 2021, but that was postponed due to coronavirus.

A sentencing hearing is now scheduled for November 5, 2021.

According to court documents, 74-year-old Michael Donovan, the adopted father of Phillips-Donovan, was found in the detached garage of his home at W546 US-2/41 in Harris Township early Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019.

He had extensive trauma to his head and face.

After performing an autopsy, Menominee County Deputy Medical Examiner Joel Hensley reported that Michael Donovan most likely died from blunt force trauma to the head and ruled it a homicide.

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