Man sentenced for the murder of his girlfriend - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Man sentenced for the murder of his girlfriend

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The Montana man accused of killing his girlfriend last summer near Selah has been sentenced to 34 years in prison after pleading guilty to the murder.

Stephen Harwood appeared in a Yakima County courtroom Tuesday. The judge also ordered Harwood have no contact with any member of the victim, Sheryl Huntley's family. Harwood was issued more than $10,000 in restitution costs.

Detectives say back in 2009, Harwood told authorities he and Huntley picked up a hitchhiker at a rest stop on Interstate 82, north of Selah. Harwood said the two struggled with the man after he tried to rob them. He claimed the hitchhiker fired several shots, hitting him in the hand and Huntley in the head. She died later at a Yakima hospital.

An autopsy confirmed Huntley died from a gunshot wound to the head. Her death was later ruled a homicide by the Yakima County coroner.

A week after the shooting, deputies found a handgun below the Fred G. Redmon Bridge. Forensics linked it to Huntley's murder and arrested Harwood in Butte, Montana.