Booking photo for Mark D. Phipps (Courtesy: Cache County Jail)
LOGAN — A 58-year-old Wellsville man will remain in jail for harassing and stalking his estranged wife. Mark D. Phipps expressed remorse for his actions, asking to be released.
Phipps was sentenced during a virtual hearing in 1st District Court Tuesday morning, appearing by web conference from the Cache County Jail. He previously accepted a plea deal, pleading guilty to stalking and two counts of violating a protective order, all third-degree felonies.
According to prosecutors, Phipps would follow the victim as she would drive to her Ogden workplace. He would also call her and make comments that he was spying on her during her lunch break. Later he sent a photograph of the woman, partially naked from the waist down, to a family member. He also threatened to send other nude pictures to others in the woman’s family.
In May, Phipps was released on bail under the condition that he obey a protective order and have no contact with the victim. While out he went to the Logan Post Office and mailed a package to the woman containing several messages. He also attempted to contact her through a social media site and sent her several photographs.
During Tuesday sentencing, public defender Shannon Demler said his client cared for his ex-wife and was trying to express his love to her. Since being incarcerated though, Phipps understood that even though he never physically harmed the victim, he must leave her alone.
Phipps apologized to his family and law enforcement. He asked the court to be released from jail but said he would comply with whatever was ordered.
Cache County Chief Deputy Attorney Spencer Walsh said the victim had filed for divorce and wanted Phipps to be sent to prison so she could feel safe. If prison was not ordered, he asked for the defendant to be issued a permanent criminal stalking injunction and be sentenced to wear an ankle monitor when released from jail.
Judge Thomas Willmore expressed shock at how Phipps continued to harass the victim and ordered him to stay away from her permanently. He said, “This was an obsession to you not affection.”
Judge Willmore sentenced Phipps to serve 120 days in jail, but gave him credit for the 70 days previously served. He also issued the stalking injunction and ordered an ankle monitor, which will track Phipps location 24-hours a day.