The discovery of Maddie Clifton's body in 1998 sent shockwaves through the Jacksonville community.
Now, the mother of the young man who admitted to killing his playmate seven years ago wants a new trial for her son.
Convicted murderer Joshua Phillips has a new lawyer who is pushing for a new trial.
Phillips is now 21 years old and serving a life sentence with no chance of parole for the murder of 8-year-old Maddie Clifton.
Phillips' mother, Melissa Phillips, continues to deal with what happened in her home seven years ago.
On Wednesday, Melissa Phillips was at the Duval County Courthouse to help push for a new trial for her son.
Despite everything that happened she said she is still fighting for Joshua Phillips.
"It's all about love. I love my son, that will never change," Melissa Phillips said.
The Phillips family wants a new trial, claiming that Joshua's defense attorney did a poor job during the murder trial.
"I trust that the right things will happen at the right time. I have that faith, and that mindset that that's the way it will be, and God's time is not my time," Melissa Phillips said.
Maddie had been missing for six days before her body was found underneath Joshua's waterbed.
Joshua actually helped search for Maddie before the discovery, afterward, he said he accidentally hit her with a baseball and panicked.
While Melissa Phillips continues fighting for her son, she said what happened in her neighborhood will haunt her forever.
She was the one who actually found Maddie's body in her son's room. She said at that time she never thought that Joshua would murder; now, she still cannot believe it happened.
"He was 14 years old when this all happened. He was just a kid," Melissa Phillips said.
She says she still keeps in contact with Maddie's mother, Shelia DeLongis.
Last year during a re-trial the two consoled each other in the courtroom.
"She's a mother, she's a mom," DeLongis said.
"We have a shared sorrow, but I think as mothers we understand each other's position. I think if the situation was reversed she would be doing the same thing that I'm doing," Melissa Phillips said. "I can't change what was, I can only move forward and help my son, because he is still here and he is worth saving."
Melissa Phillips does not dispute that her son is guilty, but she is looking for a reduced sentence.
The latest hearing for the proposal for a new trial was postponed while Joshua Phillips' new attorneys prepared their case.
- December 16, 2004: New Trial Sought In 1998 Slaying Of Maddie Clifton
- December 13, 2004: Man Accused Of Killing 8-Year-Old As Teen Wants New Trial
- February 6, 2002: Conviction, Sentence Upheld For Maddie's Killer
WJXT.com Coverage Archived By MaddieClifton.org (Not All Images Or Links Within Archived Stories Are Active)
- October 7, 1999: Why Did Joshua Philips Kill?
- August 20, 1999: Joshua Earl Patrick Phillips Sentenced To Life In Prison
- July 9, 1999: Some Evidence Released At End Of Trial
- July 8, 1999: Jury Finds Phillips Guilty Of First-Degree Murder
- July 8, 1999: Pillips Trial Goes To Jury
- July 7, 1999: Prosecution, Defense Rest
- July 7, 1999: The Trial: Day One July 7, 1999: Trial Begins For Teen Charged In Slaying
- July 6, 1999: Jury Seated In Phillips Murder Trial
- July 5, 1999: A Snap Shot Of Maddie Clifton
- July 5, 1999: Boy To Go On Trial For Maddie's Murder
- November 12, 1998: Neighborhood Remembers Maddie
- November 11, 1998: Neighbor Boy Held On Charges Of Killing Maddie Clifton
- November 10, 1998: Maddie Search Ends In Tragedy
- November 9, 1998: Search For Missing 8-Year-Old Girl Intensifies; FBI To Get Involved
- November 7, 1998: After Three Days, Girl Still Missing
- November 6, 1998: Lakewood 8-Year-Old Missing; Last Seen Tuesday In Her Yard