Man gets life in prison for murder of woman found buried in his backyard, officials say

Phillip York, 56, will spend life in prison for the murder of 29-year-old Sarah Jane Willard.
Phillip York, 56, will spend life in prison for the murder of 29-year-old Sarah Jane Willard.(Jackson County Sheriff's Dept.)
Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 10:50 AM HST
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JACKSON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX/Gray News) - A Mississippi man will spend the rest of his life behind bars for the murder of a Florida woman found buried in his backyard.

Phillip York, 56, was set to go to trial Monday but at the last minute decided to plead guilty, officials said.

York admitted to killing 29-year-old Sarah Jane Willard, who investigators say he met online. In February 2020, Willard was found buried in the backyard of York’s home in St. Martin. The state medical examiner said she died from a gunshot wound to the head.

York was charged with first-degree murder and possession of weapon by a convicted felon. While he was sentenced to life in prison on the murder charge, he also received a 10-year sentence for the possession charge, which will run concurrent with the life sentence.