In a small town in upstate New York, a tragic event unfolded that would leave a community divided and a young boy’s life cut short. The murder of Garrett Phillips in 2011 shook the town of Potsdam to its core, leaving many questions unanswered and pointing fingers of blame in different directions. In this article, we will delve into the case of Garrett Phillips, exploring the facts, evidence, and theories surrounding his untimely demise.

The Life of Garrett Phillips

Garrett Phillips was a 12-year-old boy living in Potsdam, New York, in 2011. He was described as a vibrant and friendly child, beloved by his family and friends. Garrett had a passion for sports, particularly soccer, and was known for his unwavering determination on and off the field. However, his life was tragically cut short on October 24, 2011, when he was found unconscious in his home and later pronounced dead at the hospital.

The Investigation Begins

The investigation into Garrett Phillips’ murder began immediately after his body was discovered. Law enforcement officials arrived at the scene, collecting evidence and questioning witnesses in an attempt to piece together the events leading up to his death. The Potsdam Police Department, along with the assistance of the New York State Police, spared no effort in their pursuit of justice for Garrett.

The Suspects

During the course of the investigation, several individuals emerged as potential suspects in Garrett Phillips’ murder. One of the primary suspects was Oral “Nick” Hillary, a former soccer coach at the local Clarkson University and the ex-boyfriend of Garrett’s mother, Tandy Cyrus. Hillary, an African American man, became the focus of the investigation, leading to a racially charged atmosphere within the community.

The Evidence Against Hillary

The prosecution built its case against Nick Hillary primarily on circumstantial evidence. They argued that Hillary had a motive to kill Garrett due to his strained relationship with Tandy Cyrus and his desire to win her back. They also presented phone records that showed Hillary’s presence near Garrett’s home around the time of the murder. Additionally, the prosecution emphasized the findings of DNA evidence, which allegedly linked Hillary to the crime scene.

The Defense’s Perspective

Nick Hillary’s defense team countered the prosecution’s claims, arguing that the evidence against their client was weak and insufficient to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. They pointed out flaws in the DNA evidence, suggesting contamination and improper handling. The defense also presented an alibi for Hillary, claiming that he was present at a soccer game during the time of the murder. Furthermore, they criticized the investigation, alleging bias and tunnel vision on the part of law enforcement.

The Trial and Acquittal

In 2016, Nick Hillary stood trial for the murder of Garrett Phillips. The trial garnered significant media attention, with the nation watching closely as the case unfolded. After weeks of testimony and deliberation, the jury found Hillary not guilty, acquitting him of all charges. The verdict, however, did not bring closure to the case, leaving many unanswered questions and a divided community in its wake.

Unresolved Questions

Despite the acquittal, the question of who killed Garrett Phillips still lingers. The case remains unsolved, leaving the community and Garrett’s loved ones searching for justice. Many theories and speculations have emerged, suggesting alternative suspects and motives. Some believe that the investigation focused too heavily on Hillary, potentially leading to the overlooking of crucial evidence and alternative leads.

Moving Forward

The tragic death of Garrett Phillips serves as a haunting reminder of the fragility of life and the impact of unresolved crimes. The case has sparked conversations about racial bias within the justice system and the importance of thorough investigations. It also highlights the need for continued efforts to bring justice to Garrett and his grieving family.


The murder of Garrett Phillips in 2011 shocked the town of Potsdam and left a lasting impact on the community. The case, which gained national attention, remains unsolved, leaving many questions unanswered. The trial of Nick Hillary, the primary suspect, resulted in an acquittal, further deepening the mystery surrounding Garrett’s death. As the search for justice continues, the legacy of Garrett Phillips lives on, reminding us of the importance of perseverance and the pursuit of truth in the face of tragedy.

Here is an example of an informative table about the topic “Who Killed Garrett Phillips?” with relevant information organized:

Fact Description
Victim Garrett Phillips
Date of Incident October 24, 2011
Location Potsdam, New York
Age of Garrett Phillips 12 years old
Cause of Death Strangulation
Suspect Oral “Nick” Hillary
Relationship to Victim Former boyfriend of Garrett’s mother
Arrest Date September 15, 2015
Court Trial People v. Oral “Nick” Hillary
Verdict Acquitted on September 28, 2016
Unsolved Case The true perpetrator remains unknown

Please note that this table is for illustrative purposes only and may not contain the most up-to-date information on the case.


1. Who killed Garrett Phillips?
The prime suspect in the murder of Garrett Phillips was Oral “Nick” Hillary, a former soccer coach at Clarkson University. However, he was acquitted of the charges in 2016.

2. What are some key facts about the Garrett Phillips case?
– Garrett Phillips, a 12-year-old boy, was found dead in his home in Potsdam, New York, in 2011.
– The case gained significant media attention due to its controversial investigation and subsequent trial.
– The prime suspect, Nick Hillary, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder in 2014.
– The trial lasted for several weeks and included intense scrutiny of the evidence and witness testimonies.
– Despite the acquittal of Nick Hillary, the case remains unsolved, and the true identity of Garrett Phillips’ killer remains unknown.

3. What evidence was presented during the trial?
During the trial, the prosecution presented several pieces of evidence, including phone records, surveillance footage, DNA samples, and witness testimonies. However, the defense argued that the evidence was insufficient to prove Nick Hillary’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

4. Were there any other suspects in the Garrett Phillips case?
Yes, apart from Nick Hillary, there were other individuals who were considered as potential suspects. However, their involvement in the murder could not be conclusively proven, leading to the focus primarily being on Hillary during the trial.

5. Has there been any progress in solving the case since Nick Hillary’s acquittal?
As of now, there have been no significant developments in solving the case. The murder of Garrett Phillips remains an open investigation, and authorities continue to search for new leads and evidence that could potentially lead to the identification and conviction of the real perpetrator.

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