A 57-year-old Bush man was sentenced to 50 years in prison Tuesday for strangling his estranged girlfriend in 2015 and burning her body, according to the 22nd Judicial District Attorney's Office.
Judge Raymond Childress sentenced Gary L. Harris to 40 years for manslaughter in the death of Nanette King, 42, and another 10 years for obstruction of justice, according to Lisa Page, spokeswoman for District Attorney Warren Montgomery.
Harris pleaded guilty to both counts on Feb. 14. The sentences are to be served consecutively.
The defendant's brother Ray S. Harris, 67, of Bush, was sentenced to five years for being an accessory after the fact.
King, who had been staying at a Bogalusa motel with her daughter, vanished after leaving her job at a gas station near Sun on Sept. 20, 2015.
An intensive search for the missing woman turned up nothing. Three weeks later, two women spotted her burned Mitsubishi Galant in a wooded area near Sun and called the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office.
Her badly burned body was discovered inside the car.
Gary Harris and King had lived together for 20 years and had a daughter. But investigators zeroed in on him as the prime suspect because of inconsistencies in what he told them, Page said. The relationship had become volatile and was what prompted King and her daughter to move to Bogalusa.
Investigators believe Harris lured King to their home to discuss dividing up their property and, once she was there, strangled her. His brother admitted to helping hide evidence of the death.
The brothers took “calculated steps to cover up the crime,” then-Sheriff Jack Strain said at the time.
Gary Harris had been convicted of aggravated assault in 1997 and had other arrests for aggravated battery, simple battery and simple assault.