SAN ANTONIO – A deadly family disturbance in 2019 played out in a courtroom as testimony began in the murder trial of a man accused of fatally shooting his aunt.
Michael Phipps was charged with the murder of 65-year-old Becky Ibarra.
According to the state in opening statements, Phipps lived at his grandmother’s home with his mother.
At the time, Phipps was having issues with Ibarra, and she had gone over on June 4, 2019, when an argument began over a debit card.
The argument turned deadly when Phipps took out a gun and shot Ibarra in the chest, police said.
A pivotal piece of evidence on the first day of the trial was a 911 call played for the jury. In it, Ibarra’s now-deceased mother can be heard telling the dispatcher Phipps shot her daughter and that it was intentional.
The defense in opening statements said this was a case of self-defense, and Phipps was a small man who feared his aunt. They said Ibarra physically attacked him the day of the shooting.
“Becky began yelling at him, assaulted him, physically forcing him backwards over a table with her arm against his throat, choking him,” defense attorney John Young said.
Young said Phipps then took out a gun, and he and his aunt struggled over it before it discharged and hit her once in the chest.
Ibarra later died at the hospital from the gunshot wound.
Castle Hills police had been called to the home on other occasions by Phipps and Ibarra.
Ibarra’s husband, in testimony, told the jury that Phipps wanted control of his grandmother’s home but didn’t work to help financially.
Eddie Ibarra said they went over two days before his wife was killed, and Phipps wouldn’t let them in the home and appeared to have a gun on him. They called police to try to de-escalate the situation.
Eddie Ibarra also told the jury his wife was a cancer survivor, and while she liked to stay fit, the cancer had left her physically weak.
“She was very weak in terms of picking up stuff around the house. She wasn’t a strong person,” Eddie Ibarra said.
Testimony will continue on Wednesday in the 399th District Court.
If found guilty, Phipps faces 5 to 99 years or life in prison.