By Meladi Brewer
GREENVILLE — Double homicide suspect placed under $1 million dollar bail.
Adam J. Uchyn, 39, of Greenville is the lead suspect after a double homicide took place on April 13. He faces two counts of murder, unclassified felonies, and one count of aggravated robberY, a felony of the first degree.
If found guilty, Uchyn could face 20 years to life with no parole on both murder charges and 3 to 16 and a half years in prison for the aggravated robbery charge. A total fine for all charges could reach a maximum of $70,000.
State Prosecutor Kelly Ormsby spoke on behalf of bond stating the charges are the most serious charges that could be filed. He also advised this is the first double homicide since 2003.
“It had been 20 years since we had an incident like this where two people lost their lives, and obviously we are alleging Mr. Uchyn was the one who took the lives,” Ormsby said.
Not only is Uchyn being accused of the murder of Michelle V. Phipps, 63, and James T. Donnelly, 57, he allegedly had taken the victim’s car and fled to Chicago.
“In considering bail, not only do we consider the serious nature of the charge, but the fact the defendant immediately fled,” Ormsby said.
The state recommended bond be set at $1 million to ensure he appears and for the safety of the public. Uchyn himself addressed the court regarding bail stating he is not a monster.
“I admit to running- which if you’ve ever been in a situation like I was in, you don’t know what to do. I was scared,” Uchyn said.
Uchyn said he is not guilty of what he is accused of.
“I know the seriousness of this case, and I’m not trying to run from it. I’m trying to prove my innocence,” Uchyn said.
He advised the court to look back at his court history saying he has never run from a court case before and always dealt with what he had done. He said ‘if he did it, he did it, but this he didn’t do.”
“I’m not a monster like people are trying to say I am,” Uchyn said.
The victim’s daughter was able to video chat into the courtroom via Zoom to express her concerns regarding bail. She explained why no bail should be granted.
“In order to deny bail, there are three requirements that must be proven by clear convincing evidence,” the daughter said.
There must be a firm belief that the matters have been established and a great presumption is agreed upon, there is substantial risk of serious harm, and there is no way that the released conditions of the suspect could grantee the public’s safety.
“It is public knowledge that my mother called 911 at or around 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 13, 2023 shortly before she was stabbed to death,” the daughter said. “She had told the operator that she needed help, gave her address and could be heard saying ‘stop it and no’ before the call was disconnected.”
Officers went to the residence in response to the dropped call, where they met Uchyn in the driveway. He had claimed to have made the call, and Uchyn filed a report alleging a theft and assault had occurred and the perpetrator had left the scene.
“He met the police outside of the home. He had blood on him, and he told a fabricated story to keep the police from entering the home and discovering the bodies of my mother and her living companion (Donnelly),” the daughter said.
She continues saying that after the police left the residence, he stole her mother’s car “in a further attempt to escape justice for the murders he had just committed”.
“All these facts are public knowledge, and standing alone, it is my belief that these facts create the great presumption required,” the daughter said.
The daughter concluded by saying she believed there should be a denial of bail for both the safety of the public and the justice of the victims. Though the state agreed with all the facts the daughter brought to light and understand her feelings, they believe, at that moment in time, the million dollar bail previously stated was a good choice of action.
Uchyn address the victim’s daughter and proclaimed he did not murder her mother.
“I’ve been trying to help her. I’m sorry this happened, but I would never hurt her and never would,” Uchyn said.
He continued by telling her that if she had looked inside of the house, she would have seen that he had been packing his stuff to move out the next day. He addressed her accusations of motive in regards to financial gain.
“For financial gain of what a couple hundred dollars and a care to murder her -no. I would never do that. If I wanted money, I could go and make it, or ask my girlfriend, or my fiance- whatever,” Uchyn said.
He pleaded not guilty saying he would not have murdered her mom over this situation, and he said he was the one to help her and take care of her.
“I cared for your mom. I did everything I could, and you will see that through this,” Uchyn said.
He said that “she was not there in the house, so she does not know how it was.” Uchyn said he was sorry this happened, but “it’s not happening like it’s said in the papers or whatever.” He trailed off before ending he addressment to the victim’s daughter with a simple “I love you.”
Judge Fliehman reeled in the conversation saying he did not want to get into the substance of the case, and they needed to focus back on bail.
“I’m sorry your honor I just hadn’t had a chance to talk to her and say I’m sorry about what had happened, but I don’t want to look like a monster when I’m not,” Uchyn said.
Judge Fliehman said he understood and agreed with the state’s current recommendation of setting bond at $1 million. If Uchyn posts bail he will be subjected to an electric monitoring system with no work privileges. The court appointed Randall Breadon as Uchyn’s attorney, and his next court appearance is currently scheduled for May 18.
Uchyn was also in court for a parole violations on the original charge of possession of a fentanyl-related compound. He was granted ILC in Dec. 6, 2022, and he admitted to all the allegations brought forth by parole: Feb 6 he had checked himself into recovery after admitting he had relapsed, Feb. 9 he admitted to relapsing of fentanyl, March 30 his parole screening tested positive for drugs, April 3 he admitted to taking drugs, and on April 12 he admitted to using fentanyl on April 5.
To contact The Daily Advocate Reporter Meladi Brewer, email [email protected].