Man sentenced for tossing girl in Springfield lake

1 decade 6 months 4 weeks ago Friday, May 18 2007 May 18, 2007 Friday, May 18, 2007 12:33:57 PM CDT May 18, 2007 in News
Source: (Copyright 2007 The Associated Press All Rights Reserved.)
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - A man who pleaded guilty to tossing a five-year-old girl into a cold lake near Springfield to terrorize his estranged wife has been sentenced to 70 years in prison. Johnnie Jerome Kerns was sentenced today by Circuit Judge Dan Conklin to consecutive terms for five felonies, including kidnapping, child abuse and assault. Kerns was arrested last September shortly after two fishermen pulled the girl from the Springfield-area lake before dawn. They had heard what sounded like a child being thrown from a bridge and then a vehicle speeding off. Kerns pleaded guilty in February to kidnapping the girl from her mother's home and tying a car tire to her before throwing her in the water. The girl is not Kerns' daughter. Greene County assistant prosecutor Dan Patterson said the judge denied probation for Kerns. His lawyers failed in their bid to have the sentences imposed concurrently, which would have limited prison time to 18 years.

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