TUNKHANNOCK, WYOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Guilty– that’s the verdict handed down by a jury Monday to Phillip Walters.
After just a few hours of deliberation, a Wyoming County jury found Phillip Walters guilty on all counts in the 2018 killing of his girlfriend Haley Lorenzen.
They believe he murdered Lorenzen and dumped her in the Susquehanna River. The verdict brought mixed emotions for Haley’s family, reliving their worst nightmare for five days of trial.
“The verdict was what we wanted to hear. It’s not going to bring our daughter back, but it’s justice,” Ralph Lorenzen, Haley’s father, said.
“Murder of the first degree, third degree murder, strangulation, and abuse of corpse,” Wyoming County DA Jeff Mitchell said.
Walters was arrested in January 2019 and charged with his girlfriend Lorenzen’s death. Walters can be seen here during a court appearance in April of 2019.
Police say on December 30th, 2018 Walters choked Lorenzen and beat her to death with a hammer.
“We had DNA we had an eyewitness who did an amazing job we had a video of the u-turn of a vehicle at the end of the falls bridge,” Mitchell said.
Gabel Bell helped Walters toss Lorenzen’s body over the Falls Bridge into the Susquehanna River that night. Walters was having a sexual relationship with Bell.
As the only physical witness to the crime, her testimony was key. She said she felt threatened by Walters.
“Gabel told Haley’s story and Haley verified Gabel’s story. If it wasn’t for that young woman we wouldn’t be standing here today,” Deanna Hills, Haley’s mother, said.
For months, law enforcement and local volunteers searched for Lorenzen. Crews found Lorenzen’s body in the Susquehanna River in July of 2019.
“Knowing that he did that to her and it took this long to find her and now I’m just glad like I said I’m glad it’s over and he’s going to pay for his consequences,” Todd Kinney, one of the search volunteers, said.
“He’s off the street, he can’t hurt another woman, and he’s going to go where he deserves to be,” Hills said.
Haley moved here from Oregon and was living with Walters before he killed her. She was only 24 years old.
Walters’ sentencing is set for December 10th.