Man gets life in killings of 2 Colorado women in 1982

Nov 7, 2022, 3:09 PM | Updated: 4:35 pm
FILE - In this photo provided by the Park County Sheriff's Office is Alan Lee Phillips on Feb. 24, ...

FILE - In this photo provided by the Park County Sheriff's Office is Alan Lee Phillips on Feb. 24, 2021. A man convicted of killing two women near a Colorado ski resort town nearly 40 years ago after DNA testing identified him as a suspect was sentenced Monday, Nov. 7, 2022, to two terms of life in prison. A judge handed down the punishment for Alan Lee Phillips after the women's relatives called for the maximum punishment for the slayings they say forever changed their families. (Park County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

(Park County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

DENVER (AP) — A man convicted of killing two women who disappeared near a Colorado ski resort town nearly 40 years ago after DNA testing identified him as a suspect was sentenced on Monday to two terms of life in prison after the women’s relatives called for the maximum punishment for the slayings that forever changed their families.

Alan Lee Phillips, 71, was convicted in September of two counts of first-degree murder and other charges in the killings of Annette Schnee, 21, and Barbara “Bobbi Jo” Oberholtzer, 29. Authorities said the two women, whose bodies were found in separate locations, had no connection. Both were believed to have been killed while hitchhiking outside Breckenridge, about 60 miles (96 kilometers) southwest of Denver, when they disappeared on Jan. 6, 1982.

Friends and family discovered Oberholtzer’s body the next day in a snow drift on the summit of 11,542-foot (3,463-meter) Hoosier Pass, near Breckenridge. Schnee’s body was discovered six months later, fully clothed, by a boy fishing in a creek in rural Park County. Both women had been shot.

Investigators said Phillips was rescued the night that the women disappeared from the top of nearby Guanella Pass when his truck got stuck during a snowstorm, KUSA-TV reported.

Phillips, a miner and automobile mechanic, was arrested last year in Dumont, a small mountain town about an hour’s drive away from Breckenridge, after living in the area for the past four decades. He plans to appeal his conviction, claiming the DNA evidence used against him was contaminated and mishandled.

Schnee’s sister Cindy French was 11 when her older sister, who wanted to be a flight attendant, disappeared. In a statement to Judge Stephen Broome read by Deputy District Attorney Mark Hurlbert, she said she remembers her mother breaking down and crying over the six months Schnee remained missing. French named her eldest daughter after her sister. She said that while her sister was not alive to create a family, Phillips was able to remain free for decades and have wives and children.

Oberholtzer’s daughter, Jackie Vukos-Walker, was about the same age when her mother was killed. Her childhood was marked by sadness, depression and anxiety, she said in a statement read by Deputy District Attorney Stephanie Miller. She could not relate to other children and cried so many tears into a pillow embellished with a horse that it was impossible to distinguish where the drops fell, she said. Vukos-Walker said she was a constant reminder of her mother, whom she resembled, and refrained from talking about her loss because it upset other people.

“I felt like I made everyone sad,” Vukos-Walker said.

She also said mentions of serial killers in the abundance of crime shows on television still cause her to well up with emotion whether she is in public or private.

Phillips did not address the court but his daughter, Andrea Shelton, did, the only person who spoke on his behalf. She expressed sympathy for the families of Schnee and Oberholtzer but said she believed in forgiveness and redemption. She told Broome that Phillips had taught her and her siblings honesty and ethics as they were growing up.

“He is a good man and I thought someone should say something,” Shelton said.

Broome said he would impose a life sentence without the possibility of parole for each of the two women, ordering them to be technically served one after the other, rather than at the same time, to allow the maximum penalty under the law. Prosecutors had asked for that to allow the loss of each woman’s life to be recognized.

“I hope the healing starts today and God be with you,” he said to their families.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Mega Millions lottery tickets and a wager slip are displayed, Friday, Jan. 6, 2023, in Derry...
Arizona Sports

Drawing nears for $700M Powerball prize, 10th biggest in US

Another huge lottery jackpot will be on the line Saturday for players willing to put up $2 vs. daunting odds of actually winning the prize.
20 hours ago
Chinese spy balloon flies above in Charlotte NC, United States on February 04, 2023. The Pentagon a...
Associated Press

US downs suspected Chinese spy balloon off the Carolina coast

The United States on Saturday downed a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the Carolina coast after it traversed sensitive military sites.
20 hours ago
A man works at an avocado orchard in Santa Ana Zirosto, Michoacan state, Mexico, Thursday, Jan. 26,...
Associated Press

Route to Super Bowl dangerous for Mexico’s avocado haulers

SANTA ANA ZIROSTO, Mexico (AP) — It is a long and sometimes dangerous journey for truckers transporting the avocados destined for guacamole on tables and tailgates in the United States during the Super Bowl. It starts in villages like Santa Ana Zirosto, high in the misty, pine-clad mountains of the western Mexico state of Michoacan. […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

Iraqi currency crash halts after meeting with U.S. official

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq’s currency ended its nosedive after a meeting between the Iraqi Central Bank head and a top U.S. Treasury official. Under Secretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence Brian E. Nelson said in a statement Saturday that he had met with Central Bank of Iraq Governor Ali al-Allaq in Istanbul […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

Gas prices dip in NJ, around nation as cold weather returns

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Gas prices dipped in New Jersey and around the country at large as cold weather descended on parts of the nation following an unusually warm January. AAA Mid-Atlantic says the average price of a gallon of regular gas in New Jersey on Friday was $3.42, down three cents from last week. […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

Kansas police responding to overdose call shoot, kill man

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Police in Kansas say an officer shot and killed an armed man after he fled from the scene of an opioid overdose on a bicycle. The Kansas City, Kansas Police Department said in a news release that officers spotted the man pedaling away Friday night from a home where they […]
20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
Man gets life in killings of 2 Colorado women in 1982