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Teacher sentenced in sex abuse case

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David Merrell, a fencing instructor who pleaded guilty to sex crimes involving four of his female students, got a tough sentence from 1st District Judge Gordon Low on Monday that will keep Merrell behind bars for years.

Court records show Merrell pleaded guilty April 30 to two counts of first-degree felony aggravated sexual assault, one count of first-degree felony forcible sodomy and one count of second-degree felony forcible sex abuse.

Low sentenced Merrell to indeterminate sentences of 15 years to life on the sexual assault charges, five years to life on the sodomy charge and one to 15 years for the sexual abuse charge.

Cache County Attorney George Daines said he is satisfied with the sentence. "He (Merrell) does not start the sex offender program until he serves 15 years, which essentially guarantees him a longer stay," Daines said.