A New Jersey man once on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list has been sentenced to decades in prison for killing his fiancée and her dog, prosecutors said.
Lamont Stephenson, whose grinning mug once adorned billboards outside Newark Liberty International Airport, was sentenced to 31½ years in prison Thursday for strangling Olga “Ivy” DeJesus, 39, and her dog, Lola, in October 2014, according to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.
A judge ruled that Stephenson, 46, who pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and animal cruelty charges in June, must serve the entire sentence without the possibility of parole.
Stephenson was charged in 2014 in DeJesus’ slaying in absentia and later landed on the most-wanted list in October 2018. He spent five years eluding authorities until he was ultimately captured in March 2019 in Maryland after he allegedly killed a second woman in Washington, DC, as well as her cat, authorities said.
Both Stephenson and DeJesus attended New Jersey’s Bloomfield Tech High School and they reconnected via Facebook when she and a classmate planned their 20th class reunion, Essex County prosecutors said.
Stephenson didn’t attend the affair but reached out to DeJesus and the pair started dating. He then proposed to DeJesus a short time later. The former fugitive admitted in court in June to killing his fiancée because he was fired from his job at Pep Boys and wanted to keep it from her, prosecutors said.
“Incredibly, Stephenson brutally strangled Olga DeJesus because he did not have the courage to tell her he lost his job at Pep Boys,” Assistant Prosecutor Michelle 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.”
Stephenson then killed DeJesus’ dog the same way before fleeing the couple’s Newark apartment and going on the lam for the next five years while living under a fake name, prosecutors said.
Stephenson was also charged with killing girlfriend Natina Kiah, 40, inside her DC apartment when he was arrested in Maryland. The security guard at a homeless shelter had met the fugitive while he was staying there under an alias and allegedly killed her and her cat. The case is still pending, prosecutors said.
“Today, Stephenson has nowhere to run and he is now being held accountable for the horrible crimes he has committed,” Miller said. “The sentence today demonstrates that we, as law enforcement, will not rest until defendants are brought to justice no matter how long it takes.”