JANESVILLE, Wis. -

An Evansville man convicted of burning the corpse of a Fitchburg woman in his backyard fire pit was sentenced Wednesday.

Nathan Middleton, 30, was sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison, which was the maximum sentence he could get.

Investigators said Middleton met the victim, Aprina Paul, through a Craigslist ad.

Middleton told authorities the two had sex and did drugs, and he found her dead the next day.

Authorities believed -- but couldn't prove -- that Middleton murdered Paul.

Dozens of Paul's family and friends were in the Rock County courtroom.

"One of the things that sticks with me the most is that you didn't give Miss LaRue the opportunity to properly bury Aprina or to properly say goodbye to her," Rock County Judge Richard Werner said. "You robbed her of that beyond the things that you did to Aprina."

Paul's family clapped as Middleton was taken out of the courtroom. Middleton will also serve six years of extended supervision on charges of hiding and mutilating a corpse.