Sidney man receives life in prison for live-in girlfriend's death

A Sidney man convicted of first-degree murder for the 2011 stabbing death of his girlfriend in their home near Sidney was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison.

48 year old Craig Anthony Johnson was also sentenced to 40-50 years for use of a weapon to commit a felony and 10-20 years for possession of a deadly weapon. The sentences were ordered to run consecutively.

District Judge Derek Weimer stressed the heinous nature of the offense before handing down the sentences, according to Cheyenne County Attorney Paul Schaub.

Johnson was found guilty of the three felonies in a late December jury trial. Johnson was convi9cted of killing 42-year-old April Smith. Smith was found bound, strangled and beaten to death on her living room floor. An autopsy showed she died from an abdominal stab wound.

Schaub said in a media release "the outcome of this case is attributed in large part to the diligent efforts of several law enforcement agencies, including the Cheyenne County Sheriff's Office, Nebraska State Patrol, Michigan State Patrol, and Michigan's Jackson County Sheriff's Office."

Schaub also thanked the Nebraska Attorney General's Office for "outstanding work".

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