UPDATE: Judge Denies Mallo's Request for Reduced Sentence in Murder Case

By: Cathleen Moxley, Andrew Colegrove, Jessica Ralston, Jeremy Edwards Email
By: Cathleen Moxley, Andrew Colegrove, Jessica Ralston, Jeremy Edwards Email

UPDATE 12/14/12 @ 5 p.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- For three-and-a-half years, an elderly woman's family has tried to cope with her brutal murder.

The 14-year-old boy who killed her is now 18, and so the countdown begins in his 40-year sentence.

Thomas Mallo was hoping to get out from behind bars sooner than that, but a judge on Friday denied his request for a reduced sentence.

In a vicious 2009 murder, Mallo admitted to stabbing Phyllis Phares, 82, dozens of times, slashing her throat and running away.

“I just want Ms. Phares' family to know that I’m really sorry for what I’ve done,” Mallo said.

Phares' daughter, Karen Morris, says she doesn’t buy his apology.

“I don't see any remorse in his apology,” Morris said.

Morris has worked tirelessly to make sure Mallo serves his full 40 years.

She even got 640 people to sign a petition against letting him out early, which is just what Mallo's attorney asked the judge to do.

“Not a single day in the three and a half years that Mr. Mallo has been in custody has he engaged in a single physically aggressive behavior; not a single day,” George Castelle, Mallo’s attorney, said.

However, a psychologist testified that Mallo remains “unpredictable and dangerous.”

“He has a history since childhood of disturbed behavior and aggressive behavior,” Dr. Thomas Horacek said.

The defense originally asked that Mallo not be tried as an adult because of neglect, abuse and deplorable living conditions. In the end, though, he was tried as an adult and convicted of second-degree murder.

UPDATE 7/28/10 @ 3:30 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A teenager who killed his elderly neighbor will spend decades behind bars.

Thomas Mallo was sentenced Wednesday afternoon to 40 years in prison.

Mallo admitted to brutally murdering Phyllis Phares in her home last summer on Charleston's West Side.

Phares's daughter Karen Morris says this finally brings some closure.

“I feel relieved," Morris said. "My mother’s received the justice she deserved. It doesn’t bring her back, but it makes this year after everything we’ve been through, it gives me relief to know he’ll be locked up for 40 years hopefully and not hurt anyone again.”

UPDATE 6/30/10 @ 10:30 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A teenager who admitted to killing his elderly neighbor will be sentenced next month.

During a status hearing Wednesday, Kanawha County Circuit Court Judge Carrie Webster set the final sentencing date for Thomas Mallo on July 28.

Mallo admitted to brutally murdering Phyllis Phares in her home last summer on Charleston's West Side. Prosecutors were hoping Mallo would have been sentenced on Tuesday, June 29.

Defense attorneys want part of the sentencing hearing to be confidential because of Mallo's young age and the sensitive nature of the abuse he suffered at home.

Prosecutors say Mallo should not be treated as both a juvenile and adult.

Several of Mallo's family members are serving time in jail on other charges.

UPDATE 6/15/10 @ 10:30 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- It has been a year since Karen Morris's mother Phyllis Phares was murdered in her own home on the West Side of Charleston.

Even though the teenager who killed her has confessed and been convicted, he still hasn't been sentenced.

While a grocery store parking lot isn't a likely place where people would seek justice, for Karen Morris the busy spot is a prime place to spread the word and get the public to lend their names and support to a very personal cause.

"She was really my best friend," Morris said. "I called her my sidekick."

Morris is collecting signatures and hoping a petition will carry weight with the courts. That’s because the wheels of justice have been slow to turn in her mother’s murder.

"It was a year ago yesterday that I found my mother murdered in her home on the West Side, and no justice has been done in her case," Morris said.

In the summer of 2009, she found the body of her 82-year-old mother on her living room couch. She was bloody, battered and beaten – a scene so horrifying police called it one of the worst they had ever witnessed.

"I guess the hardest thing is 'Why? Why my mother had to die such a horrible death?' "

Soon they would learn that it was a 14-year-old neighbor, Thomas Mallo, who suddenly snapped. He went into the house and attacked Phyllis, stabbing her 35 times.

"I never dreamed that they could do something like that or he could do something like that," Morris said.

Thomas, a troubled child who was raised in a home with deplorable conditions, confessed first to police, then to a judge. Several months later, the case seems to be at a standstill.

"This case was indicted and a murder conviction was secured within a matter of months and we're just waiting to get a sentencing date," Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants said.

Morris said she worries that justice will not be served.

"I just don't want him out so he can harm someone else," she said. "If he could do this to my mother, he could do this to someone else."

We spoke Tuesday with Carrie Webster, the judge in the case. She says Mallo will be sentenced on July 26. She says this has been a unique case, and they are looking to make a fair sentence.

As mentioned earlier, Thomas Mallo comes from a very troubled background. Several of his family members are in jail now, accused of child neglect and other charges.

UPDATE 6/19/09 @ 3:20 p.m.
NITRO, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Nitro Police say Farris Mallo turned himself in to authorities Friday afternoon. He is scheduled to be arraigned later this evening.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Charleston Police announced Friday they are searching for another member of the Mallo family, as they continue to investigate crime on the West Side of Charleston.

Police say they are looking for 29-year-old Farris Mallo in order to charge him with three counts of sexual assault and three counts of burglary.

Thursday, city police arrested three members of the Mallo family, Alexander Doran (who also goes by the last name of Mallo), Trina and Carolyn Mallo. All three were charged with child neglect.

Neighbors say that's the same home where a 14-year-old child charged with murder lives. The 14-year-old is accused of killing Phyllis Phares in her home last weekend. He was charged earlier this week.

City police have been investigating this area of the city since the murder last weekend.

Detectives say they have been looking for Farris Mallo for the last several hours.

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