BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A federal appeals court has upheld the conviction of a 23-year-old man in the kidnap and rape of a 4-year-old girl on Montana's Fort Peck Indian Reservation.

John Lieba Jr. was sentenced last year to 42 years in prison after authorities said he chased down the young girl at night in a park, raped and strangled her and then left her for dead in an abandoned pickup truck.

Lieba's attorneys challenged whether there was enough evidence to convict him on charges of kidnapping, aggravated rape and assault resulting in serious injury.

A three-judge panel from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in a ruling filed Wednesday that DNA evidence and eyewitness testimony were sufficient proof of Lieba's guilt.

He's incarcerated at a U.S. penitentiary in Tucson, Arizona.