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Gazette Premium Content Army sees Colorado Springs ties to Afghanistan murder

By Tom Roeder Published: October 17, 2013

The Army says someone in Colorado Springs has information that could help solve the 2009 murder of a soldier in Afghanistan.

The Army's Criminal Investigation Command on Thursday announced a $25,000 reward for information in the death of Staff Sgt. Anton R. Phillips, who was assigned to a Germany-based maintenance company. Phillips was found stabbed to death on Dec. 31, 2009 at a base in Mehtar Lam, Afghanistan, a farming area east of Kabul.

"We have reason to believe that someone in the Colorado Springs area knows something about the untimely death of this soldier and we are not giving up, but determined to bring those responsible to justice" said CID spokesman Chris Grey. "We strongly encourage anyone with information to contact us immediately."

The Army won't say why Colorado Springs is being targeted in its investigation, but Phillips was serving at the base alongside soldiers from Fort Carson's 4th Brigade Combat Team.

Soldiers from a battery of the brigade's 2nd Battalion of the 77th Field Artillery Regiment were assigned to the base to provide artillery support to American units in the area.

Phillips, 31, was a mechanic in Afghanistan. The 11-year veteran had previously served in Iraq.

Army investigators say an assailant attacked him at about 8 p.m. on Dec. 31, 2009 as he walked between a park on the base and his quarters.

A California native, Phillips was a father of three daughters. He had earned the Army Commendation Medal three times.

Initially, the Army waited three weeks to announce Phillips' death, and then declined to say how he died.

There's no indication that the Army publicly acknowledged his death as a homicide before Thursday.

Records show he was given the Purple Heart Medal posthumously, an award for combat wounds that's not given for non-combat deaths, including murders in the ranks. He was also given a posthumous promotion to staff sergeant and a Bronze Star medal, Army records show.

Grey wouldn't say why the Army has a sudden interest in Colorado Springs ties to the 2009 case.

He also declined to release details of the killing, although he said Phillips was not robbed.

The Army asked tipsters to contact the Bagram, Afghanistan, CID Office at (318) 481-6567 or email Army.CID.Crime.Tips@mail.mil.

"Individuals wishing to remain anonymous will be honored to the degree allowable under the law and the information will be held in the strictest confidence allowable," CID said in a news release.

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