Life sentence for man in Livingston County killing

By: The Associated Press Email
By: The Associated Press Email

HOWELL, Mich. (AP) - A man has been sentenced to life in prison in the murder, mutilation and burning of a 40-year-old man a year ago in Livingston County.

Calling it a "horrific crime," Circuit Judge David Reader sentenced 28-year-old Brian Stafford on Thursday.

Stafford pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, saying he aided co-defendant George Tanner in the Oct. 15, 2011, slaying of Christopher Townsend, who was beaten with a wrench and strangled with a seat belt.

Townsend's remains were burned in a wooded area in Green Oak Township.

Stafford cried and asked for forgiveness from Townsend's family on Thursday.

Tanner's case remains on hold.

The prosecutor's office is asking the state Supreme Court to overturn Reader's ruling that the jury cannot hear Tanner's alleged confession to police.

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