Family honors life of murdered Hayti man in special celebration - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Family honors life of murdered Hayti man in special celebration

Authorities say David Phelps had been beaten to death with an unknown object. (Photo courtesy of Phelps' mother, Kathy Skeleton) Authorities say David Phelps had been beaten to death with an unknown object. (Photo courtesy of Phelps' mother, Kathy Skeleton)
(Source: Kathy Skelton) (Source: Kathy Skelton)
(Source: Kathy Skelton) (Source: Kathy Skelton)
(Source: Kathy Skelton) (Source: Kathy Skelton)
Bert A. Ellison (Surce: Pemiscot County Sheriff's Office) Bert A. Ellison (Surce: Pemiscot County Sheriff's Office)
HAYTI, MO (KFVS) -

The life of a Hayti man who was murdered in 2015 was celebrated in a special event held by family and friends on Saturday, September 3.

Many people and sponsors made what the family referred to as the "Tray Day Celebration" possible.

David Tray Phelps, 26, was murdered last September.

The family said the day was all about families, and that Phelps loved his son more than anything.

Saturday marked the one-year anniversary of Phelps getting joint custody of his son.

Last September, authorities in Pemiscot County arrested and charged a Tennessee man with Phelps' murder.

Bert Ellison, 41, is accused of beating Phelps to death in the driveway of his Hayti home.

Ellison also faces a charge of armed criminal action.

He pleaded guilty for conspiracy of first degree murder on Tuesday, June 7.

Ellison has been sentenced to five years in the Missouri Department of Corrections.

According to court documents, Ellison's girlfriend Heather Cummings is the victim's ex-wife.

Investigators say Phelps was recently granted joint custody of the five-year-old son he shared with Cummings, and that she was not happy about the recent custody arrangement.

The probable cause statement details how Ellison had pictures of Phelps' house on his phone, even though Ellison reportedly told investigators he never went to Phelps' house.

Court documents also show Heather Cummings' father, Chester Cummings, told investigators he drove Ellison to Phelps' house early Thursday morning.

Cummings reportedly said he thought Ellison was going to scare Phelps.

Sheriff Tommy Greenwell says Phelps' body was found lying next to his car in the driveway of his home on Swan Lake Drive in Hayti. 

Authorities say Phelps had been beaten to death with an unknown object. His car had also been damaged by what investigators believe to be the same object.

Phelps' family said he recently moved into the house to be closer too his son.

"He loved his son more than anything in this world," Phelps' father, David Phelps, Jr., said.

Download the KFVS News app: iPhone | Android

Copyright 2015 KFVS. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly