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The man who shot his cousin to death with an AR-15 rifle, dragged the body into a hole and doused it with kerosene before lighting the corpse on fire and letting it burn for six hours will spend the next 15 to 30 years behind bars, a judge ruled Friday.
Derek Louk, 30, pleaded guilty last month to abuse of a corpse in the death of Tyler Matthai in Bedford County, the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office said. A plea agreement was reached between the AG’s office and Louk’s attorneys and the judge agreed to the terms.
According to the AG’s office, Louk admitted to shooting Matthai on April 26, 2022, and conspired with two others to burn the body and cover up the homicide.
“The defendant not only pulled the trigger, he then conspired to conceal his horrific crimes by destroying the evidence — the victim’s body,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Michelle Henry said after the guilty plea. “With this plea, he is accepting responsibility for such senseless acts of violence and disregard for human life.”
Matthai’s estranged girlfriend Courtney S. Boden was also sentenced to two to 12 years in prison for her role in the crime while Jordon Robertson pleaded guilty to abuse of a corpse and was sentenced Friday to serve three to 23 months in prison, according to prosecutors.
Louk shot Matthai when he burst into his house and dragged Boden from his living room and to the front seat of her Pontiac outside, a probable cause arrest affidavit said. Louk told detectives he fired a shot that hit Matthai in the arm and then fired a second shot, hitting him in the back, according to the document. Matthai was killed. Louk dragged his cousin’s body across the yard and then buried it under tires before dousing it with kerosene and letting it burn for six hours while he slept, prosecutors said.
When he woke up the next morning, Louk shoveled dirt on top of the corpse.
A relative later told detectives that Matthai had been doing drugs that night and was physical with Boden. Louk told him to stop and he shot his cousin when he didn’t, documents said.
Louk told authorities that he had known Boden for about seven years. She and Matthai had an abusive relationship, Louk told detectives.
His attorney did not immediately return a message from Law&Crime.
Law&Crime’s Jason Kandel contributed to this report.
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