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Montana couple sentenced for 2019 stabbing death

February 24, 2021 GMT

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A Montana couple who pleaded guilty to killing a 56-year-old man in 2019 have been sentenced.

Serena Lee Kilseimer was given 30 years in prison with 20 years suspended and Dewayne William Johnson was ordered to serve a 30-year sentence at the state Department of Public Health and Human Services mental health facility with 20 years suspended. Neither are eligible for parole before serving 10 years.

Kilseimer, 34, and Johnson, 43, pleaded guilty to mitigated deliberate homicide in January as part of a plea agreement. Both were sentenced on Tuesday.

Johnson’s plea included a mental illness claim, the Independent Record reported.

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The two were accused of stabbing Shane White more than 30 times and nearly decapitating him. His body was found at Canyon Ferry Reservoir east of Helena.

They have apologized for their actions, the newspaper reported. with Johnson saying he believed he killed White in self-defense.

County Attorney Leo Gallagher said Johnson’s defense claims were “the ramblings of a schizophrenic, high on methamphetamine.”

Kilseimer and Johnson have a child together but no longer have custody. District Judge Mike McMahon ordered the pair to never associate with each other again without state permission.