DENTON, Texas (AP) — An ex-Marine has received a 44-year prison term after his conviction for murder in the New Year’s Day 2016 shooting of a 20-year-old University of North Texas student.

The Denton County jury deliberated about four hours Tuesday in Denton before deciding on Eric Johnson’s sentence.

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Eric Johnson

Johnson had faced up to life in prison for the slaying of Sara Mutschlechner of Martindale after people in two vehicles argued following a party.

Sara Mutschlechner

Denton police say people from both vehicles had attended the same New Year’s Eve party.

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An affidavit says the shooting happened when men in an SUV made sexual remarks toward Mutschlechner and a female riding with her in another vehicle.

Johnson’s attorneys had argued the fatal gunshot was meant as a warning but hit Mustschlechner by mistake.

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