Long-serving jail inmate finally sentenced to prison

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A man who has been held in a central Illinois jail since his arrest six years ago in the death of a Springfield man has been sentenced to 85 years in prison.

Johnny Ray Priester was admitted to Sangamon County Jail a day after 20-year-old Quinton Harden was shot to death on May 28, 2012. Priester was convicted in March of first-degree murder.

Authorities say Priester fired nine shots from a .40-caliber, semi-automatic handgun at a group of people on a porch.

According to The State Journal-Register in Springfield, Priester claimed he was asleep at home at the time of the shooting. However, witnesses placed him at the shooting scene.

Lawyers cite a combination of factors in Priester's lengthy stay, including more than 30 continuances and sick attorneys.

Defense attorney Jay Elmore says his client maintains his innocence and rejected several plea offers.

Priester's sentence credits him 2,262 days for his time in jail.

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