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WDAY: The News Leader

Published August 01, 2012, 05:01 PM

Cooperstown murderer sentenced to life without parole

COOPERSTOWN, N.D. (WDAY TV) - A Griggs county judge gave a Cooperstown man the maximum sentence for shooting and decapitating a North Dakota State University researcher.

By: Becky Parker, WDAY Staff Reports, WDAY

COOPERSTOWN, N.D. (WDAY TV) - A Griggs county judge gave a Cooperstown man the maximum sentence for shooting and decapitating a North Dakota State University researcher.

Thirty-one year-old Daniel Wacht will not get a chance for parole as he spends his life serving time for the murder of Kurt Johnson.

Johnson was last seen getting into Wacht's van outside a Cooperstown bar on New Year's Eve 2010.

A week later, authorities found his severed head in the crawlspace of Wacht's basement.

Defense Attorney Steven Mottinger says he will file for an appeal.

Steven Mottinger, Defense Attorney: “There were some pre-trial issues in regard to the search warrants. That will certainly be one of the issues. There may be other issues based on rulings during the trial but obviously we're going to have to take a look at the transcripts before we determine what the exact issues of appeal are going to be.”

Wacht left the courtroom without comment, as the biggest case to hit Griggs County winds to a close.

The rest of Johnson's body still hasn't been found.

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