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Philip Fontaine, 64, real estate developer and murder victim

Philip Fontaine was born on June 3, 1947, in Rowan County, Kentucky. His father Harris did various odd jobs while simultaneously working one or more extra-legal schemes that brought in the bulk of his income. Philip's mother Bess raised the family and occasionally took in wash or seamstress work to earn some extra money.

Philip grew up quickly, intelligent but short-tempered and brimming with his father's ambition for social climbing. Also like his father, Philip didn't mind bending the rules a little to make a dollar. He often accompanied his father on moonshine runs up into the mountains, and he soon started his own card games for high school boys. 

Although Harris and his son shared many personality traits, Philip had the added questionable strength of a very strong stomach when it came to violence. Harris Fontaine was known to break the law, but he was still thought of as a good man. Philip Fontaine was quickly becoming known as someone who would break the law and whom you shouldn't cross.

After finishing high school, Philip migrated to the Central Kentucky region where he began working on horse farms in the Lexington area. He became enamored with the money and glamour of the race horse business, and worked his way up through the ranks on the farms.

By the mid-1970s, Philip was managing Grunwald Farm, a very well-respected horse farm with a long history of excellence. Philip's willingness to do whatever was needed to get out of a bind made him indispensable to the owner.

During his heady ride as manager of Grunwald Farm, Philip married his first trophy wife. Rebecca Ford was a debutante from a local wealthy family and became the first in a string of doomed marriages.

When Grunwald Farm's creditors could be held off no longer, some say the owner and Philip hatched up a scheme to get some much-needed cash. One morning, Grunwald Farm's top stud was found dead in his stall. Speculation swirled throughout the thoroughbred capital, but nothing could be proven. The insurance policy paid out several million dollars, but somehow the creditors only got pennies on the dollar while Philip and the owner seemed flush with cash.

Philip spent the next several years moving around the South, building his fortune by working in real estate. His marriage to Rebecca came and went, as did his marriage to Serena Howell, along with big alimony payments to both exes.

By the mid-1980s, Philip had settled in Oxford, Mississippi. He found the relative affluence of the town mixed with the overall economic depression of Mississippi to be a good place for real estate development. Some people claim Philip wasn't above cutting corners and allegedly threatening or bribing an inspector or official when it suited his purposes.

His aggressive pursuit of success created some very determined enemies. Chief among those enemies was Bruno Coleman, who never misses a chance to tell people how Philip wronged him in a real estate deal and how he'd ruin Philip one day.

In addition to attracting Bruno Coleman's ire, Philip managed to earn a couple of allies like Joey Beecher, who he hired to do some odd jobs. Joey became Philip's right-hand man, doing everything from overseeing work at Philip's home to allegedly burning out homeowners reluctant to sell.

Philip married his third wife, a woman in her late 20s named Ashley. She moved into Philip's huge home and tried to help his son Grant, who was constantly in trouble because of his drug use.

By late 2011, Philip's marriage to Ashley had soured and he had taken up with a lover in town. Most of his time at this point was devoted to a new development deal and to trying to keep Grant out of jail.

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Comments (12)

  1. Invinincilbe_mind

Well the 1st question that arises in me is that-

1. How and why did the officials coin the phrase 'robbey gone awry'? I mean lets put ouselves in the victim's place- I have a gun in my hand, sm1 tries to rob my house and I end up getting stabbed...

Well the 1st question that arises in me is that-

1. How and why did the officials coin the phrase 'robbey gone awry'? I mean lets put ouselves in the victim's place- I have a gun in my hand, sm1 tries to rob my house and I end up getting stabbed to death in the abdomen with a knife- Does that make sense? The bottom line is - YOU CAN SHOOT FROM YARDS AWAY BEFORE THE ENEMY GETS YOU.

2. The knife in the evidence section suggests it was picked up from the kitchen shelf. Its ridiculous that robbers nowadays dont bring their stuff with them, rather they depend on the victims kitchen(was it a robbery?)

3. The footprint intrigues me,it doesnt seem to be Lt. Mr Philip's.Does it fit Bruno Coleman's, or Joey Beecher's or Grant's size???

4. Mrs. Ashley, did she have any sort of affair? Or any property gains from the victim's death?

5. Was Grant in good terms with his dad? What was the level of his drug abuse? How about some tests to determine his state of mind on January 14?

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  1. Gibson    Invinincilbe_mind

I tend to agree, if it was in fact a robbery then what exactly was taken? what do you think of the idea that Ashley and Grant were having an affair? Phillip may have found out about it, or Ashley manipulated Grant into killing his father. think...

I tend to agree, if it was in fact a robbery then what exactly was taken? what do you think of the idea that Ashley and Grant were having an affair? Phillip may have found out about it, or Ashley manipulated Grant into killing his father. think about it neither of them have an alibi for that night, both have something to gain, both deflected and danced about in the interviews, neither have any signs of grief for their father/husband and both arrived home at exactly the same time that night! with Grant's drug issues he was bound to be short for cash etc. I know it may seem a little too convenient... But still, I have no reasons to rule any of this out.

Have you thought of any reasons?

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  1. dpressley09

I think he may have been reluctant to shoot this attacker because it may have also been a loved one. Maybe he just didn't have the heart to shoot at all.

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  1. Gibson    dpressley09

someone shot off at one round from the gun. the victim was badly beaten including his hands and then a gun placed in his damaged hand! I am also considering that a loved one was involved. Or more than one!

was his hand so damaged that he...

someone shot off at one round from the gun. the victim was badly beaten including his hands and then a gun placed in his damaged hand! I am also considering that a loved one was involved. Or more than one!

was his hand so damaged that he wouldn't be able to shoot straight anyway?

I would be Interested in seeing if there is any DNA traces on the cane, or any signs that it was used in a defensive or offensive way that

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  1. coralieblues

Suspects:
-Bruno Coleman
-Joey Beecher
-Grant Fontaine
-Ashley Fontaine

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  1. thebostondevil

If Grant was the one who truly kille his father to gain the estate Mrs. Fontaine could be next! We need to solve the case before something else happens!

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  1. thebostondevil

Mr. fontain sits, working on a project and waiting for Joey to show up at 9:00. Suddenly! He hears the back door open! And then slowly he hears the dead bolt click back into position! He calls out but nobody answers! He panics, runs, and grabs...

Mr. fontain sits, working on a project and waiting for Joey to show up at 9:00. Suddenly! He hears the back door open! And then slowly he hears the dead bolt click back into position! He calls out but nobody answers! He panics, runs, and grabs his gun! He then attempts to pursue the Burglar/Murderer and follows the sounds of hushed footsteps to the kitchen! Suddenly a man/woman Jumps in front of him! The attacker grabs the hand of poor Mr. Fontain and twists it after he managed to pull the trigger shooting into the air with no avail!, the gun is rendered usless! The attacker pulls out his knife and heartlessly stabs the victim until he feels no sign of life! He than struggles to set the body down and accidentally steps in the pool of blood! He then Wrecks the house to stage a burglary and leaves! Later Joey shows up rings and knocks but with no answer he leaves. At one o'clock the two family members arrive and see the victim dead! They then call 9-1-1!

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  1. Edna

Since there is no bio on Bruno Coleman, can we rule him out as a suspect? Philip is a shady character which offended many people but I think the main two suspects are Grant and Ashley!

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  1. krinderhagen

His marriage to Rebecca came and went, as did his marriage to Serena Howell, along with big alimony payments to both exes.

not such a moral man

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  1. krinderhagen

money over morals seldom both

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  1. secretchWOWa101

has anyone considered that it was Grant on behalf of Ashley. How was she helping him? maybe in a sexual way. but for Grant it was not sex it was love. all he would want for someone that he loves would be for them to be happy, right? so when he...

has anyone considered that it was Grant on behalf of Ashley. How was she helping him? maybe in a sexual way. but for Grant it was not sex it was love. all he would want for someone that he loves would be for them to be happy, right? so when he found out about the afair that his dad was having he seeked revenge upon him on behalf of Ashley.

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  1. bnicholas

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