Man convicted in slaying, despite body never being found

SPOTSYLVANIA, Va. (AP) – A jury has convicted a man of killing his girlfriend in Lancaster County, even though the woman’s body was never found.

The Spotsylvania County jury found 54-year-old James Todd Kessler guilty of second-degree murder and concealment of a dead body late Tuesday. The jury recommended a prison term of 45 years. Kessler will be sentenced later this year.

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Claudine Gifford was reported missing July 7, 2014.

Kessler and Gifford were last seen together at a Lancaster bar on July 6, 2014.

Defense attorneys said they were trying to determine whether Gifford is still alive and using a false identity.

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