Man gets 16 years after being convicted of conspiring to kill Dakota Co. attorney

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A former next door neighbor of Dakota County Attorney Jim Backstrom was sentenced to 16 years in prison Friday after being convicted of conspiring to kill Backstrom, the Star Tribune reports.

John Steven Woodward, 50, claimed Backstrom and a former drug associate ruined his life by putting him in prison in 2007 for felony drug crimes, according to the Star Tribune.

Woodward was convicted in Rice County District Court in Faribault in December of conspiracy to commit first-degree premeditated murder against Backstrom. He was cleared, however, of conspiracy to commit first-degree assault against Michelle McPhillips, the alleged former drug associate.

Woodward, of Inver Grove Heights, was in prison in Faribault in 2010 when he was accused of coming up with a plan to hire a fellow inmate to kill Backstrom and the associate when the inmate was released from prison, the Star Tribune reports.

The inmate, however, said he had no intention of committing the murders and went to authorities.

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