NEW YORK (AP) - A man charged in two slayings that left a trail of body parts in the South was sentenced Monday to eight years in prison in an unrelated cocaine-trafficking case.
The sentencing in Brooklyn federal court cleared the way for Howard Hawk Willis to be sent back to Tennessee, where he faces two counts of first-degree murder.
Federal prosecutors had sought a sentence of more than 20 years for Willis, arguing that he was a "trusted confederate" in the conspiracy to smuggle 659 kilograms of cocaine.
But U.S. District Judge Sterling Johnson granted a defense motion seeking a lesser sentence, agreeing that his role as the driver of a truck carrying the drugs was minor.
Willis, 51, of Chickamauga, Ga., was free on $200,000 bond and awaiting sentencing in the Brooklyn drug case when he allegedly killed Walker County, Ga., newlyweds Adam Ray Chrismer, 17, and Samantha Foster Leming, 16. Parts of the couple's bodies were found in Johnson City, Tenn., in October 2002.
Investigators say that in a taped jail conversation, Willis admits he fatally shot Chrismer, then cut off his head and hands and threw them in a lake. His other remains and Leming's body were found in a storage building.