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Horrific details released in fatal north Alabama stabbing

WARNING: This article contains graphic detail that may be disturbing. Please use discretion.

COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — Court documents laid out the horrific details of the stabbing death of Jennifer Parrish last week, following the arrest of her “significant other” Marlan Phillips.

According to online court records released on Monday, officers with the Tuscumbia Police Department responded to a home on Monroe Drive where the two lived, after a family member of Parrish called them saying they thought she was dead.

When police arrived, Phillips was not at the house. Parrish’s relative told officers that she had already been inside to check on her, but found her lying face down on the living room floor with stab wounds. The relative said they tried to shake Parrish to wake her up but eventually left the house since they didn’t know if Phillips was still inside.

Police went into the house and found Parrish where the family member had said, with a “large amount of blood around her body,” court documents state. She was not showing any signs of life.

Officers cleared the house to make sure Phillips wasn’t there, at which time paramedics were allowed inside to evaluate Parrish. They pronounced her dead on the scene.

Sergeant Senkbeil with the Tuscumbia Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division arrived and began processing the scene with Detective Handley and Detective Glaze.

In the court documents, Senkbeil says he started looking over Parrish’s body. He reported that he found “multiple stab wounds to the back, hands, chest and face” of the 33-year-old woman. Senkbeil then detailed the vicious extent of the injuries to Parrish’s body, which News 19 has decided not to describe here due to their graphic nature.

A small, blue-handled knife with blood on it was found close to Parrish’s head, Senkbeil described. As he continued, Senkbeil says there was a bloody cellphone charging cord lying close to Parrish’s head.

There were several different areas on the walls of the living room that had “large quantities of blood,” Senkbeil explained. He also found bloody shoe prints on the floor, according to the court document.

Senkbeil went into the bedroom and found more areas of pooled blood, he said. Along with that, he described seeing more areas of blood spatter on the wall and blood that had been smeared. A pink backpack with items belonging to Parrish was also found.

According to Senkbeil, an altercation had started in the bedroom and continued in the living room, with “multiple signs of struggle in both areas.”

Because of the previous history of domestic violence between Phillips and Parrish, he had deemed a person of interest in the investigation, according to the affidavit.

After a “Be On the Look Out” (BOLO) was issued for Phillips, a relative of his called the police saying that he was in the car with her and her husband. She told them that Phillips wasn’t aware, but they were on their way to bring him to the police department.

She asked for officers to be prepared, unsure of how Phillips would react. When they arrived, court documents state that Phillips was taken into custody without incident.

However, the relative told officers that when Phillips got into their car earlier, he said, “Don’t talk to the police or it will happen to you.”

Marlan Phillips
(Tuscumbia Police Department)

Court documents say that once he was in custody, officers noticed blood on Phillips’ clothes and took it all as evidence. Sgt. Senkbeil obtained a search warrant to swab his hands and feet for Parrish’s DNA.

It was after this that Senkbeil and Detective Handley brought Phillips to the Investigations Office to interview him, according to court documents. He was advised of his Miranda Rights, after which he asked for an attorney. Senkbeil ended the interview and had Phillips placed in the custody of the Tuscumbia City Jail pending charges.

He was charged with murder and abuse of a corpse, with court documents saying Phillips “did knowingly treat a human corpse in a way that would outrage ordinary family sensibilities.”

Phillips remains in custody on a $5 million bond.

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