PARK COUNTY, Colo. — The man convicted in the 1982 murders of two women hitchhiking near Breckenridge was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole Monday.
Alan Lee Phillips, 71, was found guilty of first-degree murder and kidnapping in the January 1982 shooting deaths of Annette Schnee, 21, and Barbara Oberholtzer, 29.
"There were two lives taken by a murderer, but the ripples and the effects of that are never-ending," said Park County prosecutor Stephanie Miller.
Before Phillips was sentenced, prosecutors read a statement from Oberholtzer's husband that said, in part, "Alan Lee Phillips is a despicable and evil being. I pray that the lives he has so terribly affected can find their own personal solace and closure."
Schnee's mother wrote a statement as well, which was also read by prosecutors:
"(Annette) was so beautiful, so loving and everybody loved being around her. I miss my daughter. I was never able to see her grow into a woman, start a career or have a family. But I can finally be at peace knowing that the man who took all of that away will be going away to a place he deserves to be. I'm 89 years old and I've waited 40 years for this day to come."
Phillips' lawyer says his client continues to maintain his innocence and that he plans to appeal.
Schnee was last seen on the afternoon of Jan. 6, 1982, according to the cold case database from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
Her body was found about six months later in rural Park County, about 20 miles south of Breckenridge, according to CBI. She appeared to have been shot in the back in the location where she was found, according to information from the database.
Oberholtzer was last seen on the evening of Jan. 6, 1982, and her body was found the next afternoon near the summit of Hoosier Pass, about 20 feet off the highway and down a snow embankment.
She had been shot in the chest, according to the cold case database.
Investigators said Phillips was rescued from the top of Guanella Pass after his truck got stuck during a snowstorm on the same night the two women disappeared. The victims did not know Phillips or each other.
Phillips was tied to the murders by genetic genealogy, and the semi-retired mechanic from Clear Creek County was arrested during a traffic stop near his home in February 2021.
Genetic genealogy is a relatively new technology where DNA samples from crime scenes are specially sequenced and uploaded to public DNA databases for comparison with the hope of finding a possible relative of the suspect. From there, investigators work through family trees to eventually come up with the suspect's identity.
Prosecutors say Phillips' DNA matched blood found on Oberholtzer's glove, which was found the day after she disappeared.
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