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Man who strangled girlfriend near Twin Cities, burned body gets 20 years

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Joseph Porter2 / 3
Undated courtesy photo of Cristina Prodan, 27, of Edina, who was killed by her boyfriend, Joseph Porter, and her body burned in a shipping container in New Orleans. Courtesy of Crimewatchers.net3 / 3

ST. PAUL — An Arkansas man who strangled his girlfriend in her Edina apartment and then burned her body in Louisiana has been sentenced to just over 20 years in prison.

Joseph Porter, 26, pleaded guilty Tuesday, Jan. 15, to second-degree unintentional murder for killing 27-year-old Cristina Prodan. Porter agreed to a higher sentence than recommended because he admitted to particular cruelty — he did not call police, hid Prodan’s body and caused stress for her mother.

The couple, who first became acquainted on Facebook, had been in a rocky relationship for three months, according to the criminal complaint. He admitted to strangling her during a fight on Jan. 4, 2018.

Porter said in court that he stuffed Prodan’s body into a suitcase, drove to New Orleans and burned it in a junkyard shipping container two days later, also burning himself in the process.

Hennepin County District Judge Martha Holton Dimick sentenced Porter to 20 years and 10 months in prison. She told him that she “couldn’t believe how you treated this lady.”

Livia Prodan reported Cristina missing on Jan. 5, 2018. She wrote in her victim impact statement that “she is my only child. I cry all the time.”

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