Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner announced Friday that Lashawn Smith pleaded guilty to the Nov. 3, 2017 murder of his girlfriend.
According to authorities, 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 28-year-old Sarah 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 who during his factual basis stated on the record that he killed Phillips by striking her in the head with a hammer four times, while she slept.
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.
Officials say, 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.
According to authorities, Smith is being held in custody at the Atlantic County Justice Facility, pending sentencing on Feb. 22, 2019.
Anyone with information involving serious crimes is asked to call the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office at 609-909-7800 or go to the Prosecutor’s Office Web site at http://www.acpo.org/tips.html and provide information by filling out the form anonymously on the Submit a Tip page. People can also call Crime Stoppers at 609-652-1234 or 1-800-658-8477 (TIPS) or visit the Crime Stoppers Website at http://www.crimestoppersatlantic.com/. Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards for information leading to the arrest and indictment of those who commit crimes in Atlantic County.