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Arizona man sentenced to 8 years in death of teen girlfriend

PHOENIX – Katherine “Kat” Tortice’s body was found in a shallow grave on an American indian reservation in Arizona more than a decade ago, and now the man responsible for leaving the teenager to death is going to prison for eight years.

Andre Hinton was sentenced Tuesday by U. S. District Judge David Campbell in Phoenix, who said that he was a reinforcement of the punishment “for further victims that could be attacked by Mr. Hinton.”

Hinton was originally indicted on a second-degree murder charges, but eventually plead guilty to a lesser count of involuntary manslaughter earlier this year. After his imprisonment, he is on supervised release for three years.

Tortice’s family said that she aspired to be a professional basketball player or work in the enforcement of the law as her father, but was deprived of that opportunity.

“As a young woman, she was destined to achieve so much,” said her sister, Daisy.

Hinton and Tortice were dating in November 2006, when they were arguing, in a wooded area in McNary on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation. Hinton acknowledged striking her in the head, and not seeking medical help when she said she needed a nap and lost consciousness. He told a friend who convinced him to bury the 16-year-old, burn their clothes and joined the digging tools in a pond in the near of a highway, court documents state.

Hinton’s lawyer, Mark Paige, said Hinton was scared and angry at the moment. He argued that his client tried to revive Tortice and wanted to report it to the police, but a friend recommended him.

“All these facts are in agreement within a homicide,” he said on the insistence of the courts to the meaning Hinton strictly within the sentencing guidelines of about three years in prison.

Prosecutors said Hinton had a history of abusing young women, including another teenager he dated at the same time as Tortice, and the enhanced sentence was justified.

Tortice was missing for about a month, and her death would have gone unsolved if not for a fight between her brother and Hinton’s friend who helped him with the burial of the body. The White Mountain Apache Police Department responded to the fight, and Charles Jones led authorities Tortice, according to the court documents.

Jones told the authorities that Hinton, who was like a brother to him, told him that he killed Tortice but could not say why. Hinton is not to say that the same investigators and not to speak about the crime Tuesday in court.

A medical examiner determined Tortice died of blunt force trauma, but was alive for up to a day after the injury. Abrasions on her body showed it had been towed, court documents state.

Still, there was nobody charged in the case for almost 10 years, when the prescription is set to expire.

Friends, family, acquaintances and Hinton itself issued contradictory statements over the years. Some said Hinton repeatedly abused Tortice, both physically and mentally. Jones said Hinton never hurt Tortice. Hinton told the others that Tortice hit her head on a table and that her family was responsible for her death, according to the court documents.

Other rumors spread that Tortice died of a drug overdose and that she was killed in a tractor-trailer. Neither tribal nor the federal government a surcharge of everyone.

“Only the suspect knows what really happened on the day of the victim of the murder,” prosecutors later wrote in court documents.

An FBI agent reviewed the case in 2015 and re-interviewed people, including Jones.

Jones, who was in state prison on an unrelated case, pointed to the cemetery on a map, and showed authorities where he and Hinton dumped the tools that are used to dig Tortice’s grave. A dive team later found a wooden handle in a more.

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