A Lake Village man received three life sentences Wednesday morning when he pleaded guilty to the May 2012 robbery and beating death of Chicot County Tax Collector Nell Johnson.

Circuit Court Judge Sam Pope sentenced 50-year-old John Thomas Brooks to three life terms in prison, one for capital murder, one for aggravated robbery and one for aggravated residential burglary.

In the plea agreement, Brooks avoided a possible death sentence.

Johnson, who died of blunt force trauma to her head, was found in her home the afternoon of May 3, 2012 after the 73-year-old tax collector failed to show up for work.

At Brooks’ bond hearing last year, prosecutors presented what they believed to be key DNA evidence showing Brooks’ presence in Johnson’s home at the time of the murder. His DNA was found on a cigarette butt discovered in a toilet at Johnson’s home and both his and Johnson’s DNA was on a pair of gloves discovered near her home.

“One of the victim’s brothers addressed the court at sentencing and said that he trusted that after the last door closed behind Brooks he would have a hard life to live,” said 10th Judicial District Prosecutor Thomas Deen.