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Desert Storm Soldier Charged in Slaying of National Guardsman

June 3, 1991

PURYEAR, Tenn. (AP) _ A soldier who got a ″Dear John″ letter while in the Persian Gulf has been arrested for the beating death of a National Guardsman who was dating his wife, authorities said.

Sgt. David W. Phipps, 32, who returned to the United States last month, was arrested Saturday at his estranged wife’s home after neighbors heard a man screaming, said Don Riggins, an investigator with the Henry County Sheriff’s Department.

Marcia Phipps, a nurse, was at work when Michael W. Presson, 29, was slain, Riggins said.

Mrs. Phipps had written her husband while he was serving with the 101st Airborne Division in the Gulf War, telling him their marriage was over, Riggins said.

She moved out of their home in Dover and settled in Puryear, a small west Tennessee community near Kentucky, he said.

Presson’s unit, the National Guard’s 890th Engineering Battalion, was not activated during the war.

His father, Phillip Presson, said Mrs. Phipps and his son had been dating.

″They were seen here and about at various places for the past little while,″ Presson said.

Phipps, who was stationed at Fort Campbell, was being held in a county jail pending a preliminary hearing Tuesday, when charges may be filed, authorities said.

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