Accused Killer Pleads Guilty

Accused Killer Pleads Guilty

Phillip Wade Schindler Gets 12 Years for Manslaughter
AMARILLO -- An Amarillo man pleads guilty in the death of his long time friend.

        Phillip Wade Schindler, 39, made the plea deal earlier this week.

        Schindler will spend 12 years in state prison for manslaughter in the November 2011 strangulation death of his friend Clay O'Brien Petersen.

        Schindler was originally indicted on a capital murder charge but the district attorney says he believes if it had gone to trial the jury would've settled on manslaughter rather than murder.

        Prosecutors say Schindler killed Petersen in a house behind a home on the 4900 block of Princeton in southwest Amarillo two years ago.

        Schindler and another man then dumped the body in a field along Smelter road in north Amarillo.

        Schindler was arrested at an east Amarillo motel two months later prior to a SWAT standoff.

        Randall county District Attorney James Farren says Schindler killed his friend over stolen drugs.

        "They were both heroin addicts and Petersen had gotten into Schindler's heroin.  Schindler had probably passed out.  When he awakened and realized that Petersen had gotten into his dope, I think he was angry and I think he choked him."  Farren said.

        Farren says he doesn't believe Schindler intended to kill his long time friend and that's why he thinks the jury would've convicted only on the manslaughter charge.

        Schindler is already serving time in Potter county on drug possession and aggravated robbery charges.

        After completing his state time for convictions in both Potter and Randall counties, he'll be transferred to a federal penetentiary to service more than 33 months for heroin trafficking.

        Farren says the man who helped Schindler dump Petersen's body has agreed to plead guilty as well.

        William Doan is charged with tampering with evidence in the case.

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