Hemet Woman Pleads Guilty to Murder in Desert Hot Springs Woman’s Death

Hemet Woman Pleads Guilty to Murder in Desert Hot Springs Woman’s Death

News Staff

A Hemet woman, who previously served as a caretaker for a woman found dead in a Desert Hot Springs home two years ago, pleaded guilty Monday to murder and burglary charges and was immediately sentenced to 31 years to life in state prison.

Kelly Lee Phillips, 47, admitted responsibility for the Aug. 15, 2016, death of 59-year-old Desert Hot Springs resident Chandra Saras, whose body was discovered at a home at 61498 Mont Blanc Court. Police and prosecutors have not revealed how Saras died.

Phillips had beeb facing special circumstance allegations of murder for financial gain and murder in the commission of a burglary, under which she would have faced life imprisonment without the possibility of parole had she been convicted on all counts. The allegations, along with charges of dissuading a witness and forgery, were dismissed at sentencing as part of the plea deal.

According to the criminal complaint, Phillips used Saras’ name to cash two checks for $200 each at a Wells Fargo bank branch sometime in August 2016.

Phillips was arrested Sept. 7, 2016, in Hemet.