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.

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.

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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