DeRyke Drops Challenge of Life Sentence

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By Associated Press

EFFINGHAM, Ill. (AP) - A southern Illinois man has abandoned his quest to have his life sentence overturned for the 2013 stabbing death of his 7-year-old niece.

The Effingham Daily News reports Justin DeRyke withdrew his motion after agreeing in Effingham County Circuit Court that the life sentence he got in March could be imposed given the case's circumstances and other provisions of the law.

Justin DeRyke was accused of killing Willow Long in September of last year near her home about 100 miles northeast of St. Louis.

DeRyke pleaded guilty in March to first-degree murder.

Willow Long's mother, Ciara DeRyke, was sentenced to 120 days in jail in January after pleading guilty to charges that she lied to police investigating the girl's disappearance.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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