Blytheville man convicted in churchyard slaying

BLYTHEVILLE, Ark. (AP) - A jury has convicted a man of second-degree murder in the shooting death of a Blytheville man whose body was found in a Blytheville churchyard.

Prosecutors said Jimmy Northern of Blytheville was convicted Thursday in the 2012 death of 23-year-old Thomas Essig and sentenced to 41 years in prison.

Police say Essig's body was found Dec. 1, 2012, in the yard of the True Gospel Missionary Church in Blytheville. Prosecutors said Essig and Northern, who was nearly twice Essig's age, had argued.

Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington said Northern had had previous felony convictions and was sentenced as a habitual offender.

The prosecutor said Northern was being held by the Mississippi County sheriff's office pending his transfer to the state.

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