Assistant District Attorney Jeff Swain asked that the judge sentence Roberts to 10 to 20 years in prison, the upper range of punishment, while Roberts’ attorney, Harold Johnson, requested probation.
Stating they believed he was a good candidate for probation, family members told Loftin that Roberts was an involved father and grandfather, who regularly took his grandsons fishing and helped financially support the family at times.
He regularly attended New River Fellowship Church with the family before they moved to Graham, according to Cassandra Roberts.
His father, who served in the U.S. Army and was honorably discharged, greatly influenced his own decision to serve in the Army, David Roberts said.
The shooting was out of character for the man and they believe he did so because he believed his son had been run over or hurt, family members said.
Phillip Roberts is a gentle, godly man, Cassandra Roberts said. “I think he’s an amazing man. I don’t think he deserves to go to jail.”
Though Roberts did not have a significant criminal history, he deserved prison time because of what he did that night, Swain argued. Unlike some cases where a defendant gets deferred adjudication after pointing a gun in the direction of someone, Roberts unloaded a gun at woman in a residential neighborhood, he said.
“He turned our victim’s SUV into Swiss cheese,” Swain said, adding that he endangered others in the area, as well.
Roberts will have to serve at least two years before becoming eligible for parole, according to Swain. Roberts had been free on $25,000 bond since his arrest June 15, 2011.