An Egg Harbor Township man has pleaded guilty to the 2017 beating death of his girlfriend.

Atlantic County Prosector Damon Tyner says Lashawn Smith pleaded guilty to the November 3, 2017 murder of Sarah Phillips, 28, of EHT.

According to Tyner, "During his factual basis, Smith stated on the record that he killed, 28 year-old Sarah Phillips by striking her in the head with a hammer four times, while she slept."

Smith, 36, pleaded guilty before Judge Bernard E. DeLury to first degree Murder with sentencing to be at the discretion of the court. As part of the plea, Judge DeLury entered a non-negotiated agreement for a 40 year sentence and 85% of the sentence must be served before Smith is eligible for parole, subject to the No Early Release Act. Smith is being held in custody at the Atlantic County Justice Facility, pending sentencing on Feb. 22, 2019.

On November 3, 2017, a 911 call was received by the Egg Harbor Township Police Department at 5:04 a.m., in reference to an injured female inside the residence at 4 S. Zion Road, Egg Harbor Township. Egg Harbor Township Police officers responded and located the woman who was ultimately identified as Phillips. She was pronounced deceased at the scene.

A subsequent investigation by Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit and the Egg Harbor Township Police Department resulted in the arrest of Smith and it is alleged Smith struck Phillips multiple times with a hammer. An autopsy of Phillips was completed and the cause of death was determined to be multiple blunt and sharp force injuries and the manner is homicide.

SOURCE: News Release

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