SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A man was sentenced Friday to 70 years in prison for tossing a 5-year-old girl off a bridge into a cold lake to terrorize his estranged wife.
Johnnie Jerome Kerns, 29, received consecutive terms for five felonies, including kidnapping, child abuse and assault.
Kerns was arrested last September shortly after two fishermen pulled the girl to safety. They had heard what sounded like a child being thrown from a bridge and then a vehicle speeding off.
Kerns plead guilty in February to kidnapping the girl from her mother's home and tying a car tire to her before throwing her in the water. The girl is not Kerns' daughter.
Prosecutor Dan Patterson said the judge denied probation for Kerns. His lawyers failed in their bid to have the sentences imposed concurrently, which would have limited prison time to 18 years.