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Oklahoma judge sentences man to death for 1997 slaying of teen

Oklahoma judge sentences man to death for 1997 slaying of teen
William Reece was sentenced to death for the 1997 murder of Tiffany Johnston. File Photo courtesy of the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office

Aug. 19 (UPI) -- An Oklahoma City judge on Thursday handed down a death sentence for a man convicted of killing a 19-year-old woman in 1997.

William Reece's sentence comes three months after a jury convicted him of first-degree murder and kidnapping in the death of Tiffany Johnston in Bethany, Okla.

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Prosecutors said Reece, 61, abducted Johnston, a newlywed, from a car wash before raping and strangling her in 1997. Her naked body was found the next day in a field in Canadian County.

Investigators were able to tie Reece to the murder in 2015 using DNA samples taken from Johnston's body. He was serving a 60-year prison sentence in Texas at the time for the rape and kidnapping of another woman.

One year later, Reece led police to the graves of two other women he said he killed near Houston -- 17-year-old Jessica Cain and 20-year-old Kelli Cox. He faces charges in Galveston County for the deaths of Cain and a fourth victim, 12-year-old, Laura Smither.

The Galveston County District Attorney's Office confirmed to KHOU-TV in Houston that he will be brought back to Texas to be tried for the deaths of Smither and Cain.

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KTRK-TV in Houston reported that Reece confessed to murdering the four women in exchange for not facing the death penalty.

Reece's attorneys said they plan to appeal his case.

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