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Wichita Murderer Convicted in a Teen Girl's Death in MO

October 12, 2018 - 12:33 pm

A man serving prison time in Kansas for a Wichita murder has been convicted of killing a 15-year-old Missouri girl 34 years ago in the Lake of the Ozarks area.

Martin Priest has been convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Tammy Rothganger, who went missing in May 1984 while walking to school in Eldon, Missouri. A friend said she got into a car with Priest and another male. Her remains were never found.

Court records showed Priest was living with Tammy's mother when the girl disappeared.

Priest testified this week that he didn't kill Tammy. His nephew, David Nicholas, testified that he saw Priest rape Tammy and then strangle her to death.

Priest was charged in Missouri in January 2016 while he was serving another life sentence in Kansas.

He will be sentenced in Missouri Nov. 6.

Dean was convicted in Kansas in 1985 for killing 25-year-old William Mayhugh on Christmas 1984. Mayhugh died of exposure after being shot in the head with a .32-caliber pistol. Priest also was charged with killing Mayhugh's girlfriend, 33-year-old Freida Bayliff. She was found lying face down on a broken waterbed in her home on Dec. 28, 1984, the day after Mayhugh's body was found in the Big Ditch about a mile from her home. The prosecutor implied that robbery was the motive.

The jury found Priest not guilty of killing Bayliff.

Mayhugh wasn't the only person Priest has been accused of killing. In 1987, a Sedgwick County jury found Priest not guilty of murdering 15-year-old Katrina Cheely.

Priest spent three years in prison for the 1980 murder of a Missouri teenager, until that conviction was overturned.

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