General Crime

* John Michael Wayne sentenced to life in prison for murder of 52-year-old April Denton

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A Sonoma man was sentenced to life in prison without parole today for killing a disabled woman while stealing cash and pills from her home in 2006.John Michael Wayne, 35, was also sentenced to 25 years to life for using a gun during the murder of 52-year-old April Denton. Additionally, he was given eight years and eight months for lighting Denton’s home on fire to cover up the murder and for animal cruelty; Denton’s two dogs died in the fire.Wayne shot Denton in the neck in her Mountain View Avenue home in unincorporated Sonoma County outside Santa Rosa on Jan. 21, 2006. Her body was found after firefighters extinguished the blaze. Deputy District Attorney Robert Waner argued during the trial that Wayne was addicted to pain pills Denton sold to him and others to supplement her income. Wayne killed Denton and stole $1,500 and pills containing morphine from her home, Waner said. He returned to the house later with 29-year-old Steven King to burn Denton’s house to cover up the murder, Waner said.King pleaded guilty to being an accessory and to arson, and was sentenced to eight years in prison.

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