LUMBERTON — A Bladenboro man this week accepted a plea deal of second-degree murder for the beating death of his girlfriend, whose unborn child also died during the assault assault.
Christopher Lennon, 33, of 3423 Marsh Road in Bladenboro, faces 25 to 31 years in prison when he is sentenced for the Sept. 6, 2014, murder of Princess Powell, court records show. He will get credit for time already served.
Lennon originally was charged with first-degree murder and felony murder of an unborn child but took an Alford plea, which means he never admitted guilt but agreed that the state had enough evidence to convict him of first-degree murder, court documents show.
Lennon, who was 29 at the time, placed a call to 911 the day Powell died and claimed his girlfriend was on the couch unresponsive, according to court documents. When first responders arrived at Powell’s home on Eaglewood Loop Drive bruising on Powell and blood throughout the scene led detectives to investigate the crime as a homicide.
An autopsy later revealed Powell and her child died of blunt force trauma.
Under North Carolina’s Unborn Victims of Violence Act — also known as Ethen’s Law — the death of an unborn child is considered a separate offense from killing or assaulting a pregnant woman, whether or not the killer knew about the pregnancy or intended to harm the baby. Before the law took effect in 2011, the death of a fetus counted as an aggravating factor.
This is not the first time Lennon has been charged for a violent assault against a female, court records show. Lennon allegedly assaulted Rosetta Bostic, of Lumberton, with a hammer by hitting Bostic in the head and shoulder with the hammer.
Lennon was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, court records show. No additional details about that case was available.