Man pleads guilty after 2020 fatal shooting in Bolivar


BOLIVAR, Mo.- A man charged with first-degree murder after a shooting in Bolivar in March 2020 has pleaded guilty.

Court records say 29-year-old Michael Ybarra was arrested at an apartment a few hours after the shooting. Witnesses say they saw Ybarra shoot 35-year-old Joshua Phillips multiple times at an address in the 200 block of Buffalo Street.

Witnesses also told police they saw Ybarra run away. In the process, Ybarra spilled a bucket of white paint. That paint would then help police in Bolivar find Ybarra at an apartment where he was arrested.

In a search of the apartment on West College Street, police found footprints in white paint at the front door and a pair of boots belonging to Ybarra inside with white paint on them. They also found a 9mm handgun, the probable cause state shows. Officers had earlier found 9mm shell casings near Phillips’ body.

Ybarra has an extensive criminal history, court documents show, including charges of assault, possession of narcotics, tampering, and theft. He is a fugitive from Texas and was out on bond for earlier felony charges in Polk County, documents state.

He is scheduled to be sentenced in December.

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