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Idaho man gets life sentence for killing hitchhiker

August 28, 2019

MURPHY, Idaho (AP) — A southwestern Idaho man who killed a hitchhiker has been sentenced to life in prison.

The Idaho Statesman reports that Nicholas Vandenberg of Melba received the sentence Tuesday and must serve 30 years before he’s eligible for parole.

Vandenberg previously pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and criminal conspiracy in the 2017 shooting death of 18-year-old Hunter Smith.

Two others involved in the killing are scheduled to be sentenced in December.

Montanna R. Reed of Twin Falls pleaded guilty criminal conspiracy and failure to notify authorities of a death.

Willie K. Rabey of Mountain Home pleaded guilty to accessory to first-degree murder, evidence destruction and failure to notify of a death.

Authorities say the three invited Smith to shoot guns, and that Vandenberg shot Smith at close range while Reed and Rabey watched.

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Information from: Idaho Statesman, http://www.idahostatesman.com

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