A man was recently sentenced to over four decades in prison after pleading guilty to fatally shooting his 29-year-old longtime girlfriend in 2019.

According to a news release posted by the Maine State Police, Melissa Sousa was last seen escorting her two children to the school bus near her home on Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019. The next day, Oct. 23, 2019, at approximately 4 p.m., State and Waterville police investigators reportedly found Sousa’s body in the basement of her Gold Street home.

The body was wrapped in a tarp, WGME-TV reports.

Police reportedly identified Nicholas Lovejoy as the suspect in Sousa’s death. The two lived together in the Gold Street home with their twin girls, according to WGME.

State Police said they located Lovejoy on Summer Street in his SUV with a rifle, and he was booked into the Kennebec County Jail.

During an interview, Lovejoy told authorities that his girlfriend pushed him down the stairs and she tried to fire a gun toward him, but it didn’t fire, WMTW-TV reports. Afterward, Lovejoy reportedly told investigators he shot his longtime girlfriend in the stomach two times before placing her body in a tarp and hiding it in the basement.

Prosecutors argued that Lovejoy shot his girlfriend because she was going to leave him, WGME reports. One of the victim’s friends told the news source that her relationship with Lovejoy was violent.

The defense reportedly argued that Lovejoy sustained a brain injury from an accident in 2012 and that it “permeated in all areas of his life.”

However, on Monday, Feb. 6, Lovejoy was sentenced to 42 years in prison, according to WGME.

In a statement obtained by WMTW, Assistant Attorney General Katie Sibley said, “The court did a wonderful and thorough analysis of the facts. And it was really good too, to see a case recognize, you know, for the domestic violence nature of it.”

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