Conviction is upheld in 1974 murder of Prairie Village girl

John Henry Horton at his murder trial in March 2008.
John Henry Horton at his murder trial in March 2008. The Kansas City Star

The conviction of a former school janitor imprisoned in the 1974 murder of a Prairie Village girl was upheld Friday by the Kansas Supreme Court.

John Henry Horton, now 67, is serving a life sentence in the death of 13-year-old Lizabeth Wilson.

Johnson County juries have convicted Horton twice in the killing, which went unsolved for decades before the case was reopened and new evidence was uncovered. Horton’s first conviction in 2004 was overturned on appeal.

After he was convicted in 2008, the Supreme Court ordered the case back to Johnson County to consider Horton’s motion for a new trial. The denial of that motion was the basis for Friday’s ruling that upheld the conviction and life sentence.

Horton was a custodian at Shawnee Mission East High School in the summer of 1974. Lizabeth disappeared after she was seen walking home through the school parking lot. Her remains were found several months later in Lenexa.

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