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Johnson sentenced to life in prison for murder of girlfriend

EBENSBURG – David Johnson was sentenced Thursday morning to life in prison for the murder of his girlfriend, Allison Vaughn.

The prosecution withdrew the death penalty from consideration because of mitigating circumstances.

Friends, family and detectives read statements to the judge about why they felt Johnson should spend the rest of his life in prison.

Johnson, 37, himself read a letter to Vaughn's family that he wrote last year.

He apologized for killing her and called Vaughn his best friend. Johnson said in court that he had thought about killing himself, but knew that he needed to pay for his actions.

Patricia Moore, the defense attorney in the case, said Johnson’s past likely fueled his drug addiction.

“It’s a terribly unfortunate cycle of drug addiction,” Moore said. His mother was a crack addict and dealer in Detroit when he was eight. She was shot in front of his very eyes and died in his arms. It has affected him throughout his life.”

Police said Johnson stabbed and killed Vaughn, 30, in March 2015 after a day of binging on alcohol and crack cocaine in their Richland Township apartment on Parkside Drive.

The case was one that everyone agrees is a prime example of drug abuse affecting families every day.

“About half of our murders are domestic violence related, the other half are drug related,” Cambria County District Attorney Kelly Callihan said. “It just so happened that the facts here encompassed both issues.”

Vaughn's family said they're satisfied with the sentence of life in prison without parole and that justice has been served.

Johnson was found guilty Wednesday of first- and second-degree murder in Vaughn's death.

Read previous story here.

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