Phillip Shaw was born on January 7, 1981, in Taylor, Mississippi, the eldest of two children born to Jane and Chad Shaw. He was seven when his little brother, Jerry, was born.
The age difference between the boys meant Phil spent a lot of time watching over his brother. He tried to teach Jerry the importance of honesty and integrity, but as the boys got older, Jerry increasingly resisted Phil's guidance.
Their parents held Phil responsible whenever young Jerry acted out, which Phil considered unfair. He couldn't find any way to get Jerry to behave, no matter how much he tried.
Other than his inability to control Jerry, Phil excelled in everything he did. He made top grades and had a lot of friends.
When Phil graduated from high school, he wanted to go to college, but there wasn't enough money. Instead, he got a job as a busser at Taylor Grocery & Restaurant. He put every penny he could spare in a savings account that he planned to use one day to pay for college.
In 2000, his parents went to Memphis, Tennessee, for the weekend to celebrate their 20th anniversary. Tragically, they were murdered during that trip, and the case remains unsolved to this day.
Phil became Jerry's guardian and used his share of their parents' large insurance policy and sizable savings account to support the smaller, sadder version of his family and to pay for his classes at Ole Miss.
Phil invested some of the insurance money, and when he graduated, he still had a large bank account. He leveraged that nest egg to build his own tax firm, which became a very successful business.
When Jerry dropped out of high school and squandered his inheritance like the proverbial prodigal son, Phil avoided him.
After that, the only time he heard from Jerry was when he came asking for money because he'd gotten himself into yet another financial jam. Phil always refused to lend him a dime and told him to get a job if he needed money.
Phil is single and lives alone. By his own account, he and Jerry hadn't seen each other for years at the time of Jerry's death.