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Man gets life in prison for 2017 murder of Mesa High teacher

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Posted at 6:06 PM, Jun 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-10 21:06:48-04

PHOENIX (AP) - A man convicted of first-degree murder in the 2017 shooting of a Mesa High School teacher has been sentenced to life in prison.

Maricopa County prosecutors say 29-year-old Caleb Bartels was sentenced Monday.

A jury in April found Bartels guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated assault and burglary.

Bartels was accused of killing 26-year-old Ryne Zahner as the teacher sat in his Tempe backyard in January 2017.

Authorities say Bartels had been Zahner's former friend and roommate.

A witness told police Bartels pointed an automatic rifle at the victim and fired multiple shots before fleeing.

Bartels was arrested in California several days after the fatal shooting.

Authorities say receipts for the murder weapon and for ammunition matching the shell casings found at the scene were located inside Bartels' car.