Saturday, July 11, 2020

Developer found murdered in apparent burglary

Older man with glasses and white hair, beard and mustacheEccentric Oxford real estate magnate and developer Philip Fontaine was found reportedly stabbed to death in his home early Saturday morning in what officials are saying may have been a robbery gone awry.

Investigators reported the residence on 655 North Lamar was ransacked, and Fontaine apparently attempted to fend off his attacker with a cane and handgun, according to Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department Public Information Officer Elizabeth Jones.

Fontaine's wife, Ashley, called 911 after returning home late and discovering the body, Jones said. Both she and Fontaine's son, Grant, had been out for the evening, but returned shortly after 1:00 a.m., Jones added.

"It appears that this may have been a case of someone being in the wrong place at the wrong time and surprising an intruder, with tragic results," said Jones.

Jones would not disclose further details of the case, pending ongoing forensic analysis and investigation, but said the department was pursuing several leads.

Reached by telephone Saturday morning, Ashley Fontaine declined to answer questions about the incident, saying she and her stepson are "completely in shock and need to comfort each other in privacy."

Fontaine is also survived by ex-wives Rebecca Ford of New Orleans, La., and Serena Howell of Biloxi, who is Grant Fontaine's mother. Other survivors include daughters Annette Ivy of Santa Clara, Calif., Teresa Canton of New Orleans, and son David Fontaine of Dallas, Texas.

With a 25-year career in real estate, Fontaine was considered a leader among Oxford's business interests and was often at the center of controversy about the town's commercial development.

In 2011, he backed the Montcrest housing development, enraging local environmental groups by proposing to build 45 top-range homes and a golf course on forest lands designated as a habitat of the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. When protesters sabotaged the project's construction site, Fontaine successfully sued the local Sierra Club for $5.8 million in damages.

Controversy also dogged Fontaine's latest project, an upscale retail and restaurant development partially funded by state redevelopment monies earmarked for helping the region's economic recovery. Fontaine's plan to buy out and raze three struggling farms east of Oxford along Highway 7 for the project raised the hackles of long-time residents, and in May, the group Farms not Frye's collected enough signatures to put the issue to a vote in November.

But Oxford Chamber of Commerce President Randall McCoy said Fontaine had the interests of the community at heart.

"Phil wanted the place he loved to prosper, and that meant changing with the times," McCoy said. "We've lost a forward-thinking leader, and it's a real shame."

Check back for updates on this developing story.

By Oxford Weekly Planet News at 9:00 AM

 

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Comments (14)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

"Me and my step son want to comfort each other in privacy"! Where is her family? When I have problems I love being with my mom. To talk to her to have her tell me everything will be okay only like a mother can. How well does he know his step mom...

"Me and my step son want to comfort each other in privacy"! Where is her family? When I have problems I love being with my mom. To talk to her to have her tell me everything will be okay only like a mother can. How well does he know his step mom to want to go through such a time with only her? Sound's rather funny!!

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  jackie
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

agreed man

  Dan West
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Suspects=

-Ashlet Fontaine
-Grant fontaine
-Rebecca Ford
-Serena Howell
-Annette Ivy
-Teresa Canton
-David Fontaine
-One of the member of "Farms not Frye"

  coralie blue
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I would rule out the ex-wives because they have new lives now and haven't kept in contact with Fontaine or Grant. Maybe I am wrong but I think it is someone in the present... Exp Ashley and Grant or maybe Mr Coleman. But as someone said Mr....

I would rule out the ex-wives because they have new lives now and haven't kept in contact with Fontaine or Grant. Maybe I am wrong but I think it is someone in the present... Exp Ashley and Grant or maybe Mr Coleman. But as someone said Mr. Coleman could have done it long ago. I think the most discriminating evidence is the changing of the will, leaving out the wife and son. I would be more suspicious of Joey but he would have been better off to have waited until the new will was singed because of everything being left to him.

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  Edna Mae Shukis
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

the guy did have affairs so thats something to consider

  Dan West
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

were there any insurance policies on his life - if so who would benefit from his death?

  Natalie Le Roux
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

thats actually a good point

  Dan West
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

notte might be an affair between the step mom and son

  Notte
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

thats what i was thinking

  val
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

and me 2

  Dan West
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Yes, that is a lot of family members for those two be alone. She is only 30 and he is 21 so it is a possibility that they were lovers. They both will benefit from his money. I would like to hear more from maid they know everything.

  monique stewart
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

This business of Ashley and Grants relationship .. these two getn it on?

  Bernacus
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

In fact, I'd say we have a possible motive for these two to off the Old Crook. It's worth looking at more in depth.
The bar tender has said something interesting in those regards as well.
Along the lines of "Ashley is the only one able to...

In fact, I'd say we have a possible motive for these two to off the Old Crook. It's worth looking at more in depth.
The bar tender has said something interesting in those regards as well.
Along the lines of "Ashley is the only one able to keep him on the straight and narrow."
Ashley had said something about Grant as well and now this "comforting each other in privacy:
This could be a red herring, but if these 2 are involved romantically, then Grant gets the estate and the woman should Phil kick off.

That said, can someone remind me.. was it mentioned at all in the files, do I remember reading that Grant gets the house?

What a tangled web we weave.

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  Bernacus
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

wife and son are behaving suspiciously if you ask me and maybe attacker was a protestor in my opinion

  Dan West
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