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Man Gets Life In Prison For 1988 Torture-Murder

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SANTA ANA (AP) — A Southern California man has been sentenced to life in prison for torturing and murdering a drug-dealing friend more than two decades ago.

Paul Smith, 50, of Long Beach, was sentenced Monday in Orange County.

Prosecutors said Smith stabbed Robert Haugen 18 times at Haugen’s Sunset Beach apartment in 1988, then tried to burn the body to cover his tracks. Torture allegations were added because Haugen was nearly decapitated in the attack.

Smith was arrested last year after DNA tests matched his blood with some found at the crime scene.

Prosecutors say he also pleaded guilty Monday to unsuccessfully plotting an assault on the lead detective in the murder case.

Smith’s attorney, Kory Mathewson, says Smith maintains he didn’t kill Haugen and will appeal the conviction.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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