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Phillips moving ahead with bid for new trial

As promised, Ralph "Bucky" Phillips is going through with his plans to try to overturn his convictions in the killing of a state trooper and the wounding of two others.

Lawyers for Phillips, 46, are scheduled to appear Oct. 20 in the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court in Rochester, officials at the Chautauqua County district attorney's office confirmed Wednesday.

Phillips, who wants a new trial, pleaded guilty to fatally shooting Trooper Joseph A. Longobardo and critically wounding his partner, Donald H. Baker Jr., in an Aug. 31, 2006, ambush in Pomfret, a rural Chautauqua County town where his ex-girlfriend lived.

The attack followed his escape from the Erie County Correctional Facility in Alden several months earlier. He also pleaded guilty to wounding Trooper Sean Brown in June 2006 near Elmira.

Phillips has contended that he received bad legal advice in taking the plea deals, which put him behind bars for life without the option of parole. He said he had pleaded guilty to spare his family members prosecution for allegedly having knowledge of his whereabouts during his time as a fugitive.

Chautauqua County District Attorney David W. Foley has said there is no doubt that Phillips shot the troopers. The prosecutor also has said he believes that Phillips' appeal efforts have little chance of success.

Phillips is a prisoner at Clinton Correctional Facility in the Adirondack village of Dannemora. State Department of Correctional Services officials have described him as a difficult inmate; he insists that his jailers have been mistreating him.

e-mail: lmichel@buffnews.com

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