Niles man gets prison time for BB gun assault

Published 1:38 pm Monday, February 6, 2023

NILES — A Niles man is headed back to prison after being sentenced Monday in Berrien County Trial Court. 

Nathan Andrews Phillip, 31, of Niles, pleaded guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon and was sentenced to 18 months to four years in prison. He must pay $198 in fines and costs. He has no credit for time served as he is on parole from an earlier conviction. 

The incident occurred Dec. 5 in Niles.  

He has been on parole since March 15, 2022 when he was released from prison where he had been serving a 14 month sentence from a Nov. 19, 2020 conviction for retaining without consent a financial transaction device. His new sentence will be consecutive to any sentence he gets for the parole violation. 

His past record also includes a 2016 sentence for uttering and publishing and a 2008 sentence for unlawful driving away of an automobile. 

Defense attorney Shayne Williams noted that Phillips had a BB gun and not a regular gun. For his part, Phillips apologized for his actions and said this would be his last time going to prison.

“I want to be a proper member of society,” he said. 

Berrien County Trial Judge Jennifer Smith noted that this was Phillips’ first violent and assaultive offense. “This is your first violent offense, I don’t want to see that continue,” she said. 

Judge Smith noted that Phillips had the chance to be on probation in the past but had violated those sentences as well as violated the terms of his parole from his most recent prison sentence.  

“Given your record and the nature of this offense, a prison sentence is warranted,“ she said. “The fact is that you pointed a weapon at somebody who thought it was a gun. Hopefully you will take advantage of programs available in prison.”