Calculated and cold-blooded: shooter gets 50 years for murder of Beaumont man

Adam Fuller

Jefferson County Criminal District Attorney Bob Wortham announced Sept. 25 that Adam Emanuel Fuller, 36, pleaded guilty to murder in the January 6, 2015, shooting death of 27-year-old Derek Allen Phillips of Beaumont.

Following the shooting, the Beaumont Police Department (BPD) reported that Phillips was discovered dead by his roommate at their shared residence in the 1300 block of Central Drive in Beaumont. Initial reports of the murder indicated that after waking from a nap, Phillips’ roommate found him unresponsive and bleeding profusely before calling 911 at 9:42 p.m.

Investigators recognized the injury as a gunshot wound and immediately suspected foul play. A search of the home led to the discovery of narcotics.

Judge Ken Dollinger ordered an autopsy, and the cause of death was subsequently confirmed as a gunshot wound to the head.

The BPD Criminal Investigations Unit took statements from witnesses and found out Fuller met Phillips a few days before his death and that Fuller was the last person to see Phillips before his death. Detectives worked with Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office and filed felony theft charges on Fuller, who had skipped town. Police caught up with him two weeks after the shooting. On Tuesday, Jan. 20, at 12:30 p.m., the U.S. Marshal’s Office used their resources to help locate Fuller, arresting him at a Hilton Hotel in Kema. He was arrested on the felony theft warrant and a parole violation, and was arraigned by Harris County Magistrate Holly Williamson before being transported back to Jefferson County.

Once back in Beaumont, Fuller confessed to shooting Phillips, police reported. Fuller was transported to Jefferson County Jail and booked in on the theft charge, a state jail felony with a $150,000 bond and the parole violation, for which no bond was set. He was also charged with capital murder and held on a $1 million bond. 

Fuller had stolen several thousand dollars in cash and other property from the deceased. He faced up to 99 years or life in prison for first-degree felony murder, the charge to which he ultimately pleaded guilty in the 252nd Criminal District Court. Fuller was sentenced to 50 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

The DA’s office reports that Derek Phillips’ family appeared in court and made Victim Impact Statements. They asked Fuller how he could commit such “a cold-blooded killing” of someone who had been his friend. 

Prosecutor Luke Nichols stated, “The murder of Derek Phillips was a calculated killing and robbery.  This has devastated his family, and we hope they are able to attain a sense of closure and justice. ”

This case was investigated by the Beaumont Police Department with assistance from the Jefferson County Criminal District Attorney’s office.