Trial of Murray County man accused of beating mom's boyfriend to death begins

photo John Dwight Phillips appears before Judge William T. Boyett in Murray County, Ga., Superior Court on Monday for jury selection. Phillips is charged with homicide in the beating death of his mother's boyfriend, Tommy Walraven, during a drunken argument on Christmas day last year.

CHATSWORTH, Ga. -- The trial of the Murray County man accused of beating his mother's boyfriend to death last Christmas begins this morning.

John Dwight Phillips, then 29, told investigators in December that 63-year-old Tommy Randall Walraven pressed a shotgun to his gut during a drunken argument. Phillips said he fought back, punching Walraven in the face several times.

Walraven collapsed on the couch, but neither Phillips nor his mother -- Terri Lynn Welch -- called police for about six hours.