A woman who blasted two Colorado Family History Center volunteers in the face with pepper spray and robbed them was sentenced Monday to 24 years in prison. Claudia Schauerhamer attacked the women on Nov. 30 at the Columbine stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Admitting that her crime was all the more inexcusable because it happened in a church, Schauerhamer also served up a back-handed compliment to the victims: "They didn't look near as old as I know they are now." The victims, who asked to not be identified, are aged 62 and 75. "These two ladies here in court didn't deserve that," Schauerhamer, 48, told Jefferson District Court Judge Thomas Woodford.
The day of the attack and robbery, a pleasant Schauerhamer had asked the women about information on genealogical history and for a tour of the church. She left for a short time, and then returned to assault and rob the pair.
Schauerhamer was arrested three days after the attack at an Aurora store, where she attempted to ring up charges on a credit card belonging to one of her victims. Schauerhamer had previously been convicted of second-degree murder in a 1979 beating and strangulation case in Florida. She remained at large for nearly 20 years before she was convicted in 1998 of killing the 75-year-old man. She was sentenced to 15 years in prison at time. She later was released on parole and then moved west to Colorado.
Noting Schauerhamer's long criminal history, Judge Woodford described the pepper-spray attacks as "despicable" and Schauerhamer as "dangerous."