14 News Exclusive: Evansville woman fighting for justice after father’s death is ruled a homicide

14 News Exclusive: Evansville woman fighting for justice after father’s death is ruled a homicide
Published: Jun. 15, 2023 at 6:34 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Nearly two months following Daniel Phillips death, his daughter Hope, desperate for answers.

“He lived every day like it was his last and he was very genuine,” Hope Phillips said.

People remember Daniel as a selfless person, never known to be violent.

“If you needed something, he’d be the first one to help a friend in need,” Missy Mosby said. “Let them [State Attorney’s Office] know that justice needs to be served for Dan.”

The incident, according to Hope, happened back on February 18. Hope says her father and her godfather went to Sportsmen’s Club in Mount Vernon, Illinois.

She says her father would get into an unprovoked altercation and be knocked unconscious for five minutes.

“My dad was cloudy, and he said that he just wanted to go home,” Hope said.

She says her father didn’t think much of what happened, saying that he thought he had a concussion. Until the next morning, when he would forget his name, be taken to the hospital, and found to have two brain bleeds in a scan.

“A surgeon came in and said honey, your dad has been very badly assaulted,” Hope recalled.

Phillips says her father was air lifted to Evansville shortly thereafter.

He died on April 8, and his body was brought to the Vanderburgh County Coroner’s Office, where they’d rule his death a homicide.

“And in all this time that has passed, nothing has been done about it,” Hope says. “But wholeheartedly, I am, baffled that I am heartbroken, and that people really go through this.”

She says between the time he was admitted to the hospital to the moment he was moved to hospice, he never spoke.

“The seven weeks of watching him wither away in front of me, my 8-year-old child asking me when he’s going to come home,” Phillips said. “Nothing compares to the pain I have felt.”

She says no one should have to go through what she is going through and has gone through already.

“Even if he wasn’t a good guy, even if it wasn’t my dad, no one deserves what I’ve been through,” Hope said. “No one deserves to just sit and fight people just to get justice for something that should be an open-shut case.”

Hope says she would be nowhere without the support and help of the community, fighting right alongside her to give Daniel the justice they say he deserves.

“I want you to know that I fought hard and hard and hard and long for him to stay here,” Hope said. “Because to me, my dad was invincible.”

Since February 18, no charges have been filed, no arrests have been made.

“I’m going to be 27 on my dad and I’s birthday in August,” Hope says. “And I have lost my dad; I’ve had to grow up tremendously than I already thought I did.”

Hope says she dreads the first Father’s Day without her best friend, but knows she can’t stop fighting for him.

“With Father’s Day being around the corner I just want to crawl in a hole, I don’t wanna fight anymore, but I know that I need to because he deserves justice,” Hope said.

She doesn’t always know her next step she says, but whatever that step is, it’s going to continue on the path to getting her father justice.

“I’m just speechless,” Hope said. “I don’t know what more I can do, but I’m gonna do it.”

We’ve reached out to the State’s Attorney’s Office in Jefferson County to see if charges will be filed, and to get a copy of the incident report.

They directed us to the Jefferson Co. Sheriff’s Office, citing their office doesn’t release that information.

The Sheriff’s Office says the information we requested has to come from the State’s Attorney.

We also reached out to Sportsmen’s Club in Mount Vernon for comment, they say they don’t know anything regarding the altercation or what took place that night.