The Associated Press
A judge sentenced Joshua Tharp, 27, of East Alton, to 30 years in prison for first-degree murder and 25 years for dismembering a human body.
Authorities alleged Tharp met Crystal Terpening, 26, of East Alton on Oct. 12 and later argued with the woman, striking her and killing her. They say he dismembered her body and left the remains behind a shopping center in East Alton.
The case of Terpening, the mother of a 1-year-old son, was handled as a missing person matter until her remains were found Nov. 4. Workers clearing land just a few doors from Tharp's home discovered the body parts.
Authorities said Terpening died of blunt force trauma to the head. Forensic testing results led investigators to Tharp, police said.
"You took the life of a precious girl. This is man's judgment. The ultimate judgment will come from God," Terpening's mother, Deborah Schooler, told Tharpo after Monday's hearing.
Tharp insists the death was an accident and apologized.
Prosecutors have charged another man with obstructing the investigation into Terpening's death.