Sidney man now faces first degree murder

SIDNEY, Neb. (AP) _ Nebraska prosecutors have raised the charge against a Texas man to first-degree murder.

Forty-seven-year-old Craig Johnson, of Lovelady, Texas, already had pleaded not guilty to a charge of second-degree murder. Prosecutors say he killed his girlfriend, 42-year-old April Smith, on Dec. 11, 2011, at the home they shared eight miles west of Sidney in the Nebraska Panhandle.

Cheyenne County Attorney Paul Schaub (shahb) says new information obtained by investigators convinced him that Johnson's was a first-degree murder case.

Authorities say Johnson killed Smith because she planned to reconcile with her estranged husband and let him fix her vehicle.

The Attorney General's office will assist in prosecuting the case.

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