• Lynda Cohen

EHT man sentenced to 40 years in girlfriend’s killing

Updated: May 14


An Egg Harbor Township man who admitted to fatally striking his girlfriend with a hammer while she was sleeping was sentenced to 40 years in prison Friday. Lashaun Smith must serve at least 34 years of his sentencing, minus more than a year of time already served. But the four children he and Sarah Phillips shared will always carry the results of the brutal attack, Chief Assistant Prosecutor Anne Crater told the judge. “My grandchildren live in fear that their father will get out of jail and kill me and them,” Phillips’ mother, Paula Modelle, wrote in a statement. Smith, now 37, had a pending charge involving a previous assault on Phillips when he killed her. The children saw the abuse, according to Modelle, who was too emotional to read her statement. “My father’s actions left us without a mother or a father,” the couple’s oldest child, 12-year-old Angelina, wrote in a letter read at the sentencing. “Our lives are forever changed.” The two boys and two girls were not in the courtroom. They are still adjusting to live with their grandmother in the role of mom. Now, instead of being the fun grandma, she has taken on the day-to-day disciplinary duties of a mom. “I no longer have a life,” Modelle said in the letter read in court by her sister, Michele Moulton. “I have a waking nightmare of grief and pain.” No one deserved the horrific way Phillips died, her father said in a letter read by Crater. “I will no longer be able to create any new memories with Sarah,” he said. “No more hugs. No more laughter. No more talks offering fatherly advice and encouragement.” Smith told investigators he told a sleeping Phillips, “I love you and I’m sorry,” before striking her in the head with a hammer in the bed they shared Nov. 3, 2017. “Hopefully, everyone who is suffering because of my wrongdoings can move on now,” Smith said when addressing the court before the sentenced was imposed. “I definitely want the court to know that I’m really, really sorry.” The plea agreement made just before Smith’s trial was set to begin called for no more than 40 years in prison. He must serve 85 percent under the No Early Release Act.

EHT man pleads guilty to killing his children’s mother

An Egg Harbor Township man pleaded guilty Friday to using a hammer to kill his children’s mother in the bed the couple shared. Lashaun Smith, 37, faces 40 years in prison … Read more…

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