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Ralph Phillips Gets Life in Prison for Murder of Trooper

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – Ralph Phillips was sentenced Tuesday in Buffalo to 25 years to life for escaping from the Erie County Correctional Facility in Alden. That escape last Spring set off the largest manhunt in New York State history.

But even after he was handed a life sentence, Phillips still felt compelled to taunt state police one more time. As he was led out of Chautuaqua County court Philips told some troopers, including state police Superintendent Wayne Bennett he would be back.

Earlier, Phillips was sentenced to life without parole in Chautauqua County for the murder of state Trooper Joseph Longobardo and 40 years to life for shooting and wounding trooper Donald Baker.

Phillips first shot a state trooper in Elmira in June. Then in August he shot two more troopers, killing one and seriously wounding another. The troopers wives appeared for the sentencing where Philips issued an apology, claiming he never meant to kill anyone.

The Judge denied Phillips' request to withdraw his guilty pleas. In a Buffalo court, Phillips claims he sent the request to the judge. But Kloch said he never received it. Phillips said he didn't believe him. Supporter Wendy Gambles says she delivered the paperwork for Phillips.

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