A man from the White Mountain Apache Tribe
was sentenced to eight years in federal prison for the 2006 death of a 16-year-old girl.
Andre Virrell Hinton
, 36, was initially charged with second-degree murder of a child but pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, according to a plea agreement
. He admitted he beat and killed Katherine “Kat” Irene Tortice
and buried her in a pond on the Fort Apache Reservation
“As a young woman, she was destined to accomplish so much,” Tortice’s sister, Daisy, told The Associated Press, which first reported on the sentence, imposed on Tuesday.
Federal and tribal authorities have been investigating the death of Katherine Irene Tortice since 2006.
Hinton has a history of criminal activity on the reservation. According to federal court records, he was indicted for assaulting a man
shortly after Tortice went missing in early November 2006. Her body was found in the pond
a month later.
Prior to both of those incidents, Hinton was accused of assaulting, kidnapping and sexually assaulting another young girl
on the reservation in April 2005 and February 2006. He wasn't indicted in that case until June 2014 and later pleaded guilty
to one of the assault charges.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office
, Hinton's sentence of eight years is the maximum for involuntary manslaughter. He will serve three years of supervised release following his prison term.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation began looking into Tortice's case again
in May 2016 by searching the pond where she had been buried. Hinton was indicted in October of that year after the FBI found evidence in the pond.
Tortice's father was a police officer and she wanted to follow his his footsteps, her sister told the AP. Lucky Tortice, Sr.
died in 2011 at the age of 59, with his obituary noting the loss of two of his daughters in the same year. Andrianna passed away
in February 2006, prior to Katherine's death.
"Following the deaths of his beloved daughters, Lucky's own health began to decline and continued to deteriorate until he passed away," the obituary read.
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Arizona man sentenced to 8 years in death of teen girlfriend
(The Associated Press July 11, 2018)