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Killing girlfriend gets man 40 years

A 39-year-old Oldsmar resident who stabbed to death his live-in girlfriend and dumped her body in the woods has been sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Clyde Brooks was charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Denise Lizotte, 31. A deputy on patrol found Lizotte's body in the woods off Shore Drive in Oldsmar in April 2001, clad in a bathrobe and covered by brush and debris.

Brooks claims he stabbed Lizotte in self-defense and is appealing his conviction, said his attorney, Dwight Dudley.

Investigators have argued that Brooks tried to conceal the crime by filing a missing person report for Lizotte with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

When he filed the report, a deputy noted that Brooks appeared nervous and slurred his words.

"Unfortunately, factually with him acting somewhat hysterically after it happened and hiding her body, that sort of overwhelms the good evidence of him being attacked and that he acted in self-defense," Dudley said.

Dudley said that Brooks, who is right-handed, suffered a knife wound to his right leg and right arm while trying to defend himself.

"You can't hold a knife and defend a knife attack at the same time," Dudley said.

A jury found Brooks guilty on May 24.

A month later, a Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court judge sentenced Brooks to 40 years.

Dudley said he plans to take the appeal to the 2nd District Court of Appeal.