EXCLUSIVE: Serial Criminal Furious That Kentucky’s Gov. Released Him from Prison


(Ken Silva, Headline USA) Throughout 2020, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear released hundreds of inmates from prison, ostensibly to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

One of those inmates was serial criminal Eric A. Phillips, who was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment in 2018 for armed burglary and fleeing the police during a high-speed vehicle chase. Phillips regrets that Beshear sprang him from jail because it led to him committing more crime, according to records obtained by Headline USA.

Eric PhillipsEric Phillips. PHOTO: Kentucky Online Offender Lookup

Phillips had 13 felony convictions by the time Beshear let him out of prison in August 2020. And sure enough, Phillips began another crime spree a mere two months later—including committing grand theft auto in Florida in October 2020.

Phillips was eventually arrested again in May 2021 for theft and burglary in Kentucky, and is currently serving a seven-year sentence.

In a surprising show of honesty and self-awareness, Phillips wrote a letter from his Kentucky jail cell, criticizing Beshear’s decision to release him early.

Headline USA has obtained that letter and independently verified its contents. The entire letter is being withheld to protect the identity of the source that provided it, but the relevant excerpts are as follows:

“I am a 47-year-old violent criminal with convictions in the following states: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Delaware. I have arrest warrants out of Florida and Ohio. I was released early for COVID-19, but don’t know exactly why I was,” Phillips wrote.

“Once released, I committed more crimes in Bullitt, Kenton and Campbell counties, which I received another seven years [for], and committed crimes in Florida and in Cincinnati. I also was convicted of crimes in Carroll County while out on early release by Andy Beshear,” he said.

“I had a total of 13 felony convictions prior to being released by the Governor. Yes, 13!” he added. “My criminal record is unlike [anything] ever seen before and I should have never been released early to do more crime!”

Headline USA wrote to Phillips to ask him about his motives for writing his letter. He has not responded as of the publication of this article.

The Kentucky governor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the matter.

As Headline USA previously reported, nearly 70% the criminals Beshear released early wound up committing more crime, according to a report from the Kentucky Administrative Office of the Courts.

While Phillips’s criminal record is long, he’s hardly the worst offender released by Beshear. That distinction may belong to Nathan Nickell, who sexually assaulted a child under 12 in March 2021 after being released the August prior.

James Hamlin, who sodomized a 6-year-old, was also subject to Beshear’s policy—though in his case, he was serving time for a drug charge and immediately transferred to another prison to serve out his 25-year sentence for child rape. He was reportedly never actually released from prison.

“Fact checkers” have attempted to defend Beshear’s policy of releasing criminals by pointing out that “most” of them committed their crimes after their projected release dates—meaning they would have been back on the street anyway.

Those fact checkers don’t mention the possibility that serving full sentences might have further rehabilitated the inmates and decreased the likelihood of them reoffending.

Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.