Captured fugitive 'Buck' Phillips appears in court
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BUFFALO, New York — Suspected cop killer Ralph "Bucky" Phillips appeared in court for the first time Saturday, the day after he was captured at the end of a five-month manhunt.
He looked exhausted and unshaven during the four-minute hearing, the Associated Press said. He spoke little, answering "yes" when asked if he was Ralph Phillips and also if he had received a copy of the federal complaint charging him with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, AP reported.
The federal judge in Buffalo, New York, agreed to turn him over to state police to face a charge of the attempted murder of a state trooper, according to AP.
Phillips is expected to make another court appearance later Saturday, AP reported.
He was being held in U.S. marshals' custody at the Erie County Holding Center in Buffalo, a pre-trial maximum-security facility.
"We have a lot of work still left to do," Bennett said. "We have a lot of firearms that are not accounted for."
Additional arrests are expected, he said, as police continue to investigate anyone who may have helped Phillips since his escape from jail in April.
The 44-year-old Native American broke out of the Erie County Correctional Facility in Alden after prying open a roof vent in the jail's kitchen area with an industrial can opener. The FBI said he was being held there "on a minor parole violation and was scheduled to be released within a week."
Bennett said he was pleased that Phillips was taken alive to face charges.
Video footage of the arrest showed him in the back of a police car accompanied by three officers. Onlookers cheered and took pictures as it passed.
Their response was music to police officers' ears, Bennett said. "You have no idea how that makes us feel," he said. "The bottom line is, the good guys won here. We're the good guys. He's the bad guy."
Bennett said he had no information whether the placement of Phillips on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List Thursday expedited his arrest, but it may have prevented Phillips from going elsewhere.
No gunfire was exchanged during the arrest in Akeley, a town in northwestern Pennsylvania near the New York border, the police said. Akeley is 10 miles southeast of Jamestown, New York.
Phillips was tired, unkempt and "the look on his face was a blank stare," Bennett said.
Phillips was being sought in connection with the June 10 shooting of Trooper Sean Brown during a traffic stop near Elmira, New York, and the August 31 shootings of two troopers in Chautauqua County.
Trooper Joseph Longobardo, 32, died and Trooper Donald Baker, 38, remained hospitalized Friday in critical condition, Bennett said, adding that Baker and Brown are recovering.
Stolen cars provide lead
The search for Phillips heightened just before 2 a.m. Friday after a Warren County, Pennsylvania, sheriff's deputy pursued a car believed to be stolen, said Bennett. The car crashed into a tree, and the driver ran away, Bennett said.
About 25 minutes later, another car was reported stolen. As two troopers chased the car, it crossed into New York, where the driver jumped from the moving vehicle and fled into the woods.
A backpack containing camouflage clothing was found inside the first car, as well as a hat that appears to match the one Phillips was pictured wearing in a wanted poster, two federal law enforcement sources said.
About 9 a.m., a trooper with a dog encountered a man in the woods he believed to be Phillips, Bennett said.
The man allegedly waved a pistol toward the trooper, who fired several shots, Bennett said. The trooper was uninjured, and there was no blood to suggest the fleeing man had been hit, he said.
Ralph "Bucky" Phillips captured