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O.C. man gets 119 years in kidnapping, slaying

A man convicted more than a decade ago of kidnapping a woman and burning her to death has been resentenced to 119 years to life in prison after a death sentence in the case was overturned by the California Supreme Court.

Gary Galen Brents, formerly of Buena Park, was found guilty in 2000 of kidnapping Kelly Gordon and killing her by locking her in the trunk of a car and setting it on fire.

Brents was sentenced to death, but the state Supreme Court reversed the special circumstances portion of the decision in February, based on an error in the instructions given to the jury.

Rather than retry the penalty phase of Brents’ trial, the Orange County district attorney’s office recommended the new sentence of 119 years to life in prison, a spokeswoman said. 

Orange County Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals approved the sentence Tuesday.

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-- Rebecca Trounson

 
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