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Court documents reveal new details in murder of Muskegon mother of 4

Phillip Smith's scheduled Tuesday court appearance was pushed back to early December.

MUSKEGON, Mich. — The man accused of shooting and killing a Muskegon wife and mother in early October appeared in district court Tuesday.

Investigators arrested 62-year-old Phillip Smith a day after responding to the scene near Laketon Avenue and Getty Street.

First-responders found 30-year-old Ashley Ridge—a mother of four—dead in her driveway from a gunshot wound to the head.

In Muskegon County court Tuesday, both parties signaled they were prepared to proceed with Smith’s preliminary exam to determine whether the case would move to trial, but in light of evidence Smith’s lawyer said he had just received, the defense requested the hearing be adjourned.

His preliminary exam was later rescheduled for early December.

The 62-year-old attended the hearing in person and was escorted into the courtroom in shackles, taking a seat beside his attorney.

Credit: WZZM

Court documents obtained by 13 ON YOUR SIDE showed the suspect was Ridge’s estranged former father-in-law.

Witnesses allegedly told police they had seen Smith and the victim arguing outside before he shot her in the head. An eyewitness, court filings detailed, said he had attempted to intervene in the dispute prior to the shooting.

Documents also showed Smith denied committing the crime in a subsequent interview with investigators and that he had instead visited the home of a friend in Hesperia. The friend later told authorities the 62-year-old had been emotionally distraught and appeared to have been intoxicated.

During the visit, Smith allegedly confessed to his role in the shooting. The suspect told his friend Ridge wasn’t telling him the truth.

Investigators later found a revolver and several spent bullet casings among the suspect’s belongings, the filings showed.

In addition to the primary open homicide charge, Smith faces several weapons-related offenses.

He remains in the Muskegon County Jail pending trial.


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