A New Jersey man previously on the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted" list was sentenced to 31 and a half years in prison for killing his fiancé and her dog, authorities announced Friday.
Lamont Stephenson, 46, on June 17 pleaded guilty to first-degree murder for strangling Olga “Ivy” DeJesus in her Newark home on Oct. 17, 2014, Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens, II, said.
Stephenson said he killed DeJesus because he had been fired from his job at Pep Boys, the auto parts and service store, and did not want to tell her.
He also pleaded guilty to one count of animal cruelty after admitting to strangling the family dog, Lola.
Stephenson was captured after killing a second woman in Washington, D.C., after being on the run for five years, authorities said.
Essex County's presiding Criminal Court Judge Ronald D. Wigler imposed a 31 ½ year sentence on Stephenson Friday July 30 :Thirty years for killing DeJesus and 18 months for killing the dog.
The sentences on each count are to be served consecutively, pursuant to the plea agreement. He must serve the entire sentence without possibility of parole.
Both the victim and the defendant attended Bloomfield Tech High School.
They reconnected via Facebook when DeJesus and a classmate planned their 20th class reunion for Bloomfield Tech H.S. While he didn’t attend the reunion, he reached out to her and two began dating. He soon proposed marriage.
When he entered his guilty plea, Stephenson acknowledged, under questioning from Assistant Prosecutor Michele Miller, who handled the case, that he pretended to go to work.
On Nov. 3, 2014, Stephenson was charged with DeJesus' murder. For five years, he concealed his identity and lived on the run.
On March 17, 2019, he was apprehended by police in Prince George’s County Maryland after being charged with the killing of a new girlfriend, Natina Kiah, 40, whose body was discovered in her Southeast, Washington, D.C. home.
Kiah, a security guard at a homeless shelter, met Stephenson while he was living there under another name. She died from a stab wound. He is also accused of killing her cat. That case is pending.
“Incredibly, Stephenson brutally strangled Olga DeJesus because he did not have the courage to tell her he lost his job at Pep Boys," Miller said.
"She trusted him, she loved him, and he committed the ultimate act of betrayal by forcing her to look at his face while he placed both hands around her neck and forcefully strangled the life out of her.
"He then did the same to her beloved dog, Lola. He then left their apartment and vanished for 5 years while the family of Ms. DeJesus lived with the worst kind of pain and unanswered questions, never abandoning their pursuit of justice for Olga.
"While they waited, Stephenson lived his life under an assumed name and on the run. Today, Stephenson has nowhere to run and he is now being held accountable for the horrible crimes he has committed.
The sentence today demonstrates that we, as law enforcement, will not rest until defendants are brought to justice no matter how long it takes.”
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