RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- Judge Lidia Stiglich sentenced 35-year-old Joe Nathan Scott to life in prison for murdering 58-year-old Tanjernia Whitfield, according to Deputy District Attorney Chris Hicks.
Hicks says Scott also got 20 years for the use of a deadly weapon (a multi-tool knife) to commit the murder. Scott's earliest opportunity for parole will be in 18 years.
Hicks says the incident happened Sept. 2, 2012. Police arrived at Whitfield's residence on Mill Street and found her with stab wounds to her neck and chest. She was in the hospital for a month before dying from her injuries.
Hicks says Scott was homeless and staying with Whitfield. He was also seen leaving the home just before police discovered Whitfield after she had been stabbed. Police found the knife in a trash can nearby. Scott had also disposed of his blood-saturated clothes. Police found and questioned him and he ultimately admitted to the murder.
In court, Scott claimed the incident was an accident. He also said he had been using meth for three weeks straight when he murdered her. He said he had stabbed her because drug hallucinations caused him to think she was a demon.
Scott had also been convicted of battery with a deadly weapon causing substantial bodily harm in Las Vegas in 2004 after he stabbed a mentally-disabled man in the torso with a knife, according to Hicks. He had been released from prison in July of 2011.