PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – On Wednesday, a man pleaded guilty to second degree murder of his girlfriend and several assault charges following a fatal car crash in October 2012. Lance Powers was sentenced to 12 and a half to 16 and a half years in prison.
Powers was riding in the car with Jennie Moore, of Burgaw, while she was driving on Highway 53. Investigators say Powers grabbed the wheel, causing Moore to cross the center line and hit an SUV head-on. Moore died at the scene.
"It was just hard, she was loved by so many," said Moore's best friend, Nancy Hadley. Hadley says Moore was kind, loving and leaves behind one son. She said Moore dated Powers for about a year, but adds that she was concerned for Moore, because she says Powers became violent with her several times.
The pregnant driver in the SUV, Mary Fontana, and two young children (ages 3 and 1) in her vehicle were taken to the hospital after the accident.
In court, pictures of three-year-old Jada, and the scars still on her face, were shown to the Judge.
"She will notice that, and she will know she is different because she has scars on her face," Jada's grandmother, Lynn Fontana told the Judge.
During the hearing, as pictures were shown and family members spoke, Powers never made eye contact with the judge or witnesses in the courtroom. The judge said if he ever comes in contact with the family, Powers will be placed under a $5 million secured bond.
"His attitude and the expressions on his face indicated that he had no remorse," said Judge Jones who heard the case. "I feel like in a case like that, I've got to make sure that when he gets out of prison, I've done everything I can do to make sure these families these victims are protected."
Powers pleaded guilty to:
- second degree murder
- two counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury
- two counts of misdemeanor assault
- assault on an unborn child
- driving without a driver's license
The judge sentenced Powers to a minimum of 12 and a half years and maximum of 16 and a half years in prison. Additionally, Powers will never be allowed to drive a vehicle in North Carolina, which his attorney is planning to appeal, according to District Attorney Ben David.