Aaron Compton escaped the death penalty on Monday but he will still die in prison. Compton pleaded guilty to first degree murder, assault, kidnapping and robbery in connection with the death of Tabatha Heavner last year.
It was part of a plea deal where the death penalty was taken off the table.
Compton admitted to stabbing Heavner and kidnapping her from her Catawba County apartment. The two had been in a relationship but had broken up not long before the incident occurred.
Heavner called 911 during the initial attack and a dispatcher could hear glass breaking, then a woman screaming and then the phone went silent.
Authorities say Compton was driving south on Highway 321 in Gaston County with Heavner in the car when she tried to jump out and run. Compton caught up with her, stabbed her again, and when she broke away a second time, she wound up on the highway and was hit by two vehicles and killed.
Compton turned himself in to authorities later in the day. In court, Heavner's family wiped away tears as the attack was detailed by Assistant District Attorney Sean McGinnis.
Heavner's daughter, Chastity Garcia, addressed the court and accused Compton of being selfish.
Before he was sentenced, Compton turned to the family and said, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to hurt Tabatha at all."
The Judge agreed to the plea deal which meant a sentence of life without parole for Compton on the first degree murder charge. The judge also added 14 more years for charges of kidnapping, assault and robbery.
After the case was over Tabatha's stepfather Dan Miller talked with reporters about domestic violence.
"It is the result of selfishness," he said. In this case it was because "Tabatha wouldn't respond to [Compton's] calls and texts." Miller warned others in rocky relationships to take action. "If you are with a selfish individual, where it is all about themselves then get away while you can, get out."