The 69-year-old Lilburn man who shot a young man to death in his driveway last January plans to accept a deal to plead guilty to misdemeanor manslaughter, rather than murder.
#Phillip Sailors is set to appear in court Monday morning for a judge to consider the deal. The negotiated plea recommends 12 months of probation for the death of 22-year-old Rodrigo Abad Diaz Ortiz, Sailors’ attorney, Mike Puglise, confirmed Friday morning.
#District Attorney Danny Porter said he couldn’t speak on details of the plea until after the hearing Monday.
#The murder accusation Sailors initially faced after the Jan. 26, 2013 shooting could have sent him to prison for life.
#Puglise said his client is satisfied with the agreement, but still struggling with the reality of Ortiz’s death. The 22-year-old was behind the wheel of his Mitsibushi 3000GT, when his GPS mistakenly took him to Sailors’ driveway on Hillcrest Road. Sailors maintains he mistakenly feared a home invasion and attack before firing.
#“Even though the legal aspects of this horrible, horrible, horrible incident are coming to a closure, it will never be a closure for Mr. Sailors,” Puglise said. “He prays for the family. He prays for the soul of the young man. He understands that this young man and his friend meant no harm.”
#The attorney said the plea deal was negotiated with the district attorney’s office and readily accepted by Sailors, who Puglise described as a former missionary in Latin America who had never been in any trouble with the law.
#“What he told me was, ‘Ya know, the court, what they impose really means nothing to me because I have to face God and explain to him what happened, that I took a young man’s life,’” Puglise said, adding: “Now, that in no way equates to what (the victim’s) family is going through.”
#Meanwhile, a civil suit filed by Ortiz’s family against Sailors has been resolved in an undisclosed settlement, Puglise said.