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Police say UO death prompts many tips.

Byline: Rebecca Nolan The Register-Guard

Tips from the public have been pouring in since University of Oregon student Phillip Julian Gillins died earlier this month of a brain injury he suffered in an alley fight, Eugene police Sgt. Scott McKee said Wednesday.

Two detectives have been working full-time on the case since Gillins' death June 12 at Sacred Heart Medical Center.

The 22-year-old Portland native was assaulted June 10, the night before he was expected to graduate from the university's journalism school with a degree in advertising.

At times, as many as five investigators have worked the case, depending on the amount of information coming from the public, McKee said.

"We're optimistic due in large part to the amount of interest and the volume of leads we've received," the sergeant said.

The person responsible for Gillins' injury could face charges ranging from criminally negligent homicide to manslaughter. The latter crime carries a sentence ranging from six to 10 years in prison.

"The person's intent will play an important role in this case," McKee said.

Three men confronted Gillins and two friends around 2 a.m. as they walked near an alley on East 13th Avenue between Kincaid and Alder streets. They accused Gillins of making a racist statement earlier at a campus-area bar, something Gillins' family and friends have said would be out of character for him.

One of the men punched Gillins in the face. He fell to the ground and hit his head on the concrete. The attackers fled when Gillins wouldn't wake up. The man's friends flagged down a nearby paramedic, who provided immediate medical attention, but it wasn't enough. Gillins' injury would prove fatal. He died with friends and family at his side.
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Title Annotation:Crime
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jun 30, 2005
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