- Associated Press - Thursday, July 21, 2016

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - A Maine man convicted of fatally stabbing his girlfriend in an alcohol-fueled fight was sentenced to 50 years in prison after apologizing to the victim’s family on Thursday.

Justin Pillsbury, 41, accepted responsibility for the death of 24-year-old Jillian Jones before the sentence was imposed at the Capital Judicial Center.

“I killed Jillian and I apologize for it from the bottom of my heart,” he said.

The Augusta man stabbed Jones a dozen times in a jealous rage during a fight over her communication with another man in November 2013, police said. He also stabbed himself in the neck, but recovered. He was convicted of murder in March.

Pillsbury testified during his trial that he acted in self-defense after she attacked him with a knife. He also said he was intoxicated.

His apology Thursday came after Jones’ mother told the judge that a death sentence wouldn’t be enough punish the man who murdered her daughter. “I’m so sorry that I killed Jillian,” he said, turning to look at the family.

Pillsbury has been held without bail at the Kennebec County Jail since his arrest. That time will be applied to his sentence, but Justice Michaela Murphy acknowledged that the penalty amounts to a life sentence because of Pillsbury’s age.

An appeal is expected.

The judge already denied a request for a new trial after Pillsbury’s lawyer argued that a prosecutor affected the verdict by referencing Shakespeare’s “Othello” by calling Pillsbury a “green-eyed monster” in his opening statement.

The defense contended the “green-eyed monster” remark from the play has racial connotations because Pillsbury is black and the titular character is commonly portrayed as a black Moor. The prosecutor said he was referring to jealousy, not race.


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