KINGMAN, AZ - A judge ordered a Kingman-area man to spend the rest of his life in prison for the shotgun killing of a man the defendant mistakenly thought had molested his young daughter.
George Allen Loader, 37, was convicted of killing 51-year-old John Oppenheim in 2011 by shooting him in the neck then sawing up and burning his body in the desert to dispose of it.
A Mohave County Superior Court judge on Thursday sentenced Loader to natural life for the murder conviction and to 19 additional years in prison on convictions for abandonment of a dead body and misconduct with a weapon.
Judge Steven Conn refused to sentence Loader on the murder conviction in a way that would give him a chance for release after 25 years in prison, the Kingman Daily Miner reported.
Conn also structured Loader's sentence to ensure that he spends at least 44 years in prison even if an appellate court reduces the murder sentence.
"This wasn't just a murder," Conn told Loader. "You shot the victim and cleaned up the mess, and then waited 24 hours to mutilate the body in a way that is just horrible to contemplate, and then took it to the desert and burned it."
During the trial, a prosecutor told jurors that Loader killed Oppenheim in a rage because he believed Oppenheim had molested Loader's 3-year-old daughter.
After Loader was convicted, county sheriff's spokeswoman Trish Carter told The Associated Press that there was no physical evidence to indicate there was a molestation.
Loader's defense was that Oppenheim's death was accidental after Oppenheim grabbed the shotgun as the men fought.
Loader allowed Oppenheim to stay with him and his family when Oppenheim was released from jail after an arrest for fighting.