Vernell Loggins Jr. avoided the death penalty in court yesterday, instead receiving a sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole for the 2009 murder of his girlfriend, Stephanie Fields
. Prosecutors had sought the death penalty.
Loggins stabbed Fields a reported 25 times and then dismembered her in the Pacific, Missouri, apartment complex the two shared, stashing most of her body under ice and towels in a trash can, which he then glued shut. Fields' head was eventually recovered from the Meramec River.
Loggins' sentence hinged upon the timing of the dismemberment.
The prosecution argued that Loggins killed Fields and immediately dismembered her, which, if proven, would have resulted in the death penalty. Franklin County Judge Gael D. Wood ruled that the evidence presented did not prove when the dismembering took place, and opted for life without parole.