2009-07-30 / Local & State

Pittsburgh-Area Kidnap-Killer Gets 2 Life Terms

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A 25- year-old Pittsburgh man has been sentenced to back-to-back life sentences for kidnapping and killing a couple in July 2004.

Lester Johnson was convicted in May by an Allegheny County jury that spared him the death penalty when they wound up deadlocked 10-2 in favor of execution.

Johnson was convicted in the deaths of 17-year-old Shawnte (shawn-TAY') Betts, of Pittsburgh, and her boyfriend, 26- year-old James Jones, who were found shot to death after an $80,000 ransom demand for Jones wasn't paid.

Johnson's co-defendant, 26- year-old Jaurvon Hopkins, faces trial in October and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against him, too. Prosecutors say Hopkins drove the car during the kidnappings, but he has pleaded not guilty.

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