20-year-old faces multiple charges in alleged robbery, assault of 2 juveniles

ST. GEORGE — A 20-year-old man is facing aggravated robbery and assault charges for allegedly taking part in the premeditated robbery of two juveniles last week.

Rylan Matthew Phillips, 20, of St. George, booking photo posted in Washington County, Utah, Oct. 16, 2019 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Rylan Phillips, of St. George, made an initial appearance in 5th District Court Friday. He is charged with one count of first-degree felony aggravated robbery, one count of second-degree felony aggravated assault and one count of third-degree felony theft.

The charges stem from an incident reported Oct. 8 when police were dispatched to a call involving two juveniles who were reportedly robbed by three suspects. They reported that $1,400 in property was taken from them during the incident.

According to the probable cause statement written in support of the arrest, the juveniles were assaulted multiple times by Philips and two other unnamed male suspects. They allegedly punched and kicked the teens and used a 12-inch knife sharpener to strike them, causing bruises, scrapes, cuts and welts.

Police say the robbery was planned beforehand and was set in motion when the juveniles were invited to a residence while the suspects donned masks and hid in a home waiting for them to arrive.

During the ensuing assault, police said in the statement that the suspects “made mention several times that they were ‘MS-13,'” a worldwide criminal street gang known for violence.

Following his arrest, all three of Phillips’ charges were enhanced one degree as a result of working in concert with “two or more persons or in relation to a criminal street gang,” according to the statement.

Phillips has several prior criminal cases dating back to 2017 involving vehicle burglary and drug offenses, including two cases where he was charged with aggravated assault. The first assault incident was reported in August 2018, with the second offense being reported less than a month later in September 2018.

The defendant pleaded guilty to the charges in both cases in exchange for a prison sentence of 0-5 years being suspended. Instead, the defendant was ordered to serve 365 days in the Washington County Jail with credit for 102 days on each case, and the sentences in both cases were ordered to run concurrently. He was released eight months later.

Phillips remains in custody for the current charges on $40,000 bail.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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