Solicitor: Spartanburg teen sentenced to 40 years for killing 3 relatives


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SPARTANBURG, South Carolina — A Spartanburg teen has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for killing three relatives.

Prosecutor Barry Barnette said Thursday that 18-year-old Eric Lankford was sentenced after pleading guilty but mentally ill to three counts of murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime.

Lankford was accused of killing his father, great aunt and grandmother in 2011. Forty-four-year-old Robert Lankford and 83-year-old Virginia Gaston died when they were shot at their home. Eighty-year-old Rachel Gaston Lankford died at a hospital.

Prosecutors say the teen calmly called 911 and told a dispatcher had shot his relatives with a .22-caliber gun. Barnette says he was found competent to stand trial but was found to have abnormal brain development and learning disabilities.

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