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Deer River man sentenced to 26 years for killing girlfriend

GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. - A Deer River man was sentenced to prison after pleading guilty Friday to second-degree murder in his girlfriend’s killing.

Eugene Nason, 50, pleaded guilty in Itasca County District Court.

The court imposed a sentence, consistent with the Minnesota sentencing guidelines, of 26 years. Nason must serve a minimum of a little more than 17 years and, upon his release from prison, be on supervised release for eight years.

Nason was charged with killing his girlfriend, Sonya Ann Smith, 43, on July 24 at their home.

Law enforcement officials responded to the house after a woman found Smith's body in an overflowing bathtub. Her body bore lacerations and bruising on the face and neck, according to the criminal complaint.

A medical examiner found that Smith died of multiple traumatic injuries, including a ruptured liver and spleen, broken ribs and cerebral hemorrhaging.

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