Cave Creek Man Sentenced for Murder of Beloved Local Bartender

Posted on Jul 09, 2011
Justin Wade Lunsford was sentenced by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Janet Barton to 18 years in prison for second-degree murder and five years in prison for arson. The sentence comes after he pleaded guilty in February to the stabbing death of Mary Elizabeth Hermann and the arson of her home.

Hermann was a bartender with Buffalo Chip Saloon & Steakhouse who was popular with the establishment's patrons. She was 29, and had last been seen alive with Lunsford on the day before the murder.

According to court documents and the Maricopa County medical examiner, Hermann was found dead in an unburned section of her home, nearly decapitated, with evidence of 45 stab wounds. The body was nude, but nearby articles of clothing showed blood and puncture marks. The clothing had been turned inside out, indicating it had been removed from the body after the murder.

A court spokesman stated that Lunsford's prison sentences will run consecutively.

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