Rhode Island man gets life sentence in death of girlfriend

January 24, 2023 GMT

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island man accused of running over and killing his on-and-off girlfriend during an argument has been sentenced to life in prison.

James Grilli, 39, was sentenced on Monday after pleading no contest to second-degree murder and leaving the scene in the 2020 death of Erika Belcourt, according to a statement from the attorney general’s office.

The pair had been arguing on the evening of Aug. 22, 2020, when Belcourt asked Grilli to remove his belongings from her Woonsocket apartment, prosecutors said.

The argument escalated when Grilli broke down the front door, prompting Belcourt to call police.

As she stood outside on the phone in front of Grilli’s vehicle, he revved the engine several times before running her over and driving from the scene, prosecutors said. Her two sons were inside the apartment at the time.

She was pronounced dead at the hospital.

“This extraordinary act of domestic violence took the life of a mother of two, who had much to live for. The defendant’s outrageous conduct has now landed him precisely where he belongs: in state prison, for decades to come,” Attorney General Peter Neronha said in a statement.