That didn’t take long.
Jurors deliberated just two hours Thursday before finding Omaha resident Phillip Figures guilty of first-degree murder and weapon use in the July 2018 robbery that led to the death of Frederick Green of Omaha.
The verdict came a week after Figures’ wife testified for six hours about her husband’s confession and his increasingly bizarre behavior in the 10 days after the robbery and death of Green, 57.
Figures, who held only temporary jobs beyond his drug dealing, and a friend had been planning to rob Green. Green had just been paroled after serving a sentence for dealing crack cocaine.
Though Green had gotten a full-time job at a Council Bluffs car dealership, a girlfriend said he hadn’t completely left his old ways behind.
Vanessa Figures testified that her husband had been meeting with a friend for a couple weeks — and would often return to their Bellevue home full of excitement over their plans.
Then, on a Sunday in July, Figures returned home in a hurry. He grabbed some sweatpants and a long thermal shirt, tucked them under his arm and bolted out the door.
He returned more than an hour later, telling his wife that his friend “killed that (expletive).”
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He described how the scene unfolded, how the affable Green was sitting in his living room, eating a sandwich and Doritos. Figures began whipping Green with the butt of his stun gun. The two intruders demanded to know where the money was.
The fight spilled downstairs and Figures’ friend shot Green in the leg. The friend then panicked, telling Figures that Green would be able to identify them.
“I gotta kill him, I gotta kill him, he’s gonna snitch,” the gunman said, according to Figures’ account to his wife.
“Kill him then, cuz,” Phillip Figures responded.
The gunman did.
In the days after Green’s death, Figures began circling the drain, consumed with the killing.
He got antsy over the tracks he left behind.
Prosecutors Brenda Beadle and Beth Beninato detailed how Figures had taken Green’s signature gold chain — complete with a gold ring and crucifix — and hidden it in his Bellevue yard. He had dumped his dark sweats in a dumpster outside a car wash near his home, a cover-up that was caught on surveillance tape. Cellphone towers indicated Figures’ phone was in the area of Green’s home, near 35th Street and Newport Avenue.
The last straw came in late July 2018, when Figures glared at his wife and told her he would kill her if she said anything.
She went to police, taking Green’s gold chain with her. Omaha police soon interviewed Figures and booked him on a felony-murder charge. Under Nebraska’s felony-murder rule, an accomplice is guilty of first-degree murder if someone dies in the commission of a felony such as robbery.
The 39-year-old will be sentenced in November to life in prison — the mandatory term for first-degree murder. The gunman has not been charged; prosecutors say they don’t have enough evidence to do so.