Man convicted of bludgeoning teenager to death

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MAUREPAS, La. (AP) — A Louisiana man has been convicted of bludgeoning a teenager to death with a hammer and dumping her body in a swamp.

News outlets report a Livingston Parish jury found 37-year-old John Cowart guilty of second-degree murder on Thursday. He faces life in prison.

Prosecutors say that in 2018 he strangled 18-year-old Emily Rodgers until her neck was broken before repeatedly striking her with a hammer.

Cowart denied involvement in Rodgers’ disappearance, but later led investigators to her body. The Advocate reports Cowart admitted to police the two were “messing around” in a bedroom when he accidentally strangled Rodgers with a zip tie. But autopsy results showed he choked her with his hands before beating her. Investigators never found a zip tie.

Two other men are charged with burning evidence.

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