Man sentenced in fatal shooting

December 15, 2011

VAN WERT — The pain Danny McMillen feels over his son’s death is immeasurable and the only justice in his mind is for the killer to die, himself.“I would like you to be hanged to death by the highest tree in Van Wert,” McMillen told Chad Phillips on Thursday.McMillen expressed the pain he and others in his family had since the loss of his 24-year-old son, Christopher McMillen on May 12. Phillips shot Christopher McMillen to death in what was described as a jealous and drunken rage. Phillips was upset his girlfriend broke up with him and was dating Christopher McMillen.Danny McMillen described the nightmare he lives that he wishes would end.“I still wake up at night with bad dreams and say this is a bad dream, Christopher isn’t dead,” he said.McMillen told Phillips he did not deserve to live another day. Phillips, 32, was sentenced to life in prison with the chance for parole after serving 30 years on the charge of aggravated murder.Phillips apologized to the McMillen family while saying he wishes he could take back what he did but several members of the McMillen family sat in the courtroom shaking their heads in disbelief.“On May 12, two families were destroyed by my decision,” he said. “I have to live with the fact I took someone else’s son that night.”Christopher McMillen’s brothers, also spoke at the hearing. Josh McMillen said he will never understand why his brother’s life was taken in such a violent way.“Justice can never be done,” he said.Phillips kicked in the door to his former girlfriend’s house and emptied a .38 revolver into Christopher McMillen. McMillen staggered into the bathroom and blocked the door. Phillips reloaded and fired shots through the door trying to hit McMillen. McMillen was hit at least seven times with numerous wounds to the chest. He died a short time later at the hospital. Danny McMillen told Phillips he was going to speak to him as if he were Christopher McMillen. “What the hell is the matter with you? How long were you thinking about doing this and why,” he said.He described how his son would have felt the bullets piercing his body as he was struck while on the couch. “Someone stop him or I’m going to die,” the father read.The father then described how he thought the final moments of his son’s life went after he was taken to the hospital and put on a table under bright lights for hospital staff to work on.“I hollered in pain and anguish, ‘Mom, it hurts, I can’t breath.’”Although Christopher Phillips cannot speak, his family did that for him. And while the death penalty was not an option for the judge, McMillen’s family asked for justice.“I want this guy to pay dearly for what he has done to my son,” Danny McMillen said. You can comment on this story at