Kern County District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer announced a guilty verdict Friday in the trial of Tobin Phillips, convicted of the January 2017 murder 8-month-old Baron Smith in Tehachapi.
A jury found Phillips guilty of first-degree murder with the special circumstance of torture, according to a news release from the DA’s office. The jury also found it true that Phillips committed the murder after being released from custody on another felony child abuse case in Whitman County, Washington.
Phillips faces life in prison without the possibility of parole. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 18.
In November 2016, Phillips was charged with felony child abuse for assaulting a 3-week-old girl in Washington state, the Kern County DA’s Office said. Phillips was ordered not to leave Washington, yet fled two weeks later and moved to Tehachapi to live with his girlfriend and her two young children, according to the Kern County DA.
On Jan. 2, 2017, Phillips was watching Baron Smith when he tortured and killed the young child, according to the Kern County DA. Phillips violently shook the boy, slammed the his head into a piece of furniture and strangled the child to death, the Kern County DA’s Office said.
Phillips fled the scene but ultimately turned himself into law enforcement.