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Alma, WI (KROC-AM News) - A Rochester man has been sentenced to 30 years behind bars for the murder of his girlfriend in western Wisconsin about five years ago.

The sentence imposed by a Wisconsin judge today on 49-year-old Randall Merrick also includes 20 years of extended supervision if he lives long enough to finish his prison term for killing Beth Johnson and later hiding her body in a northern Twin Cities suburb.

Merrick entered a guilty plea to a first-degree reckless homicide charge last November. The plea deal dismissed a felony charge of Hiding a Corpse and downgraded the murder count from first-degree intentional murder, which would have resulted in a mandatory sentence of life in prison.

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He was arrested in Rochester in June 2020 after investigators in Wisconsin were finally able to gather enough evidence to charge him in connection with the disappearance of Johnson. She and Merrick shared a trailer home just outside Nelson Wisconsin until her disappearance in December 2016.

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