A convicted killer from southeast Missouri has died of “apparent natural causes” in prison.

Convicted killer Donald Phillips died in a Missouri prison on June 25, 2017 (file photo courtesy of the Missouri Department of Corrections)

The Missouri Department of Corrections (DOC) says 65-year-old Donald Phillips died Sunday night at Potosi Correctional Center in Mineral Point.

The DOC says Phillips was serving a life sentence for second degree murder, armed criminal action and burglary from Butler County.

Phillips was convicted of the February 2002 killing of the owner of Bud’s Country Store at Wappapello. Phillips has been incarcerated since June 2003.

The “Daily American Republic” newspaper reported in 2002 that 52-year-old Gary Lee “Bud” Ayers of Wappapello was found dead inside his store by a Butler County Sheriff’s deputy who had responded to an alarm.

The newspaper reported that Ayers was killed with a shotgun during a burglary.

The newspaper says the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Division of Drug and Crime Control followed-up on hundreds of leads, before Phillips was arrested.