MAYS LANDING, N.J. (AP) — A man who killed his girlfriend and her young son before their southern New Jersey home was set on fire has been sentenced to 55 years in state prison.
Joseph Palmer III had pleaded guilty in January to murder and aggravated manslaughter charges.
The Egg Harbor City man was found injured outside the residence shortly after the fire was reported in November 2014. The bodies of 38-year-old Michelle Pabst and her 7-year-old son, Gavin Pabst, were found in the home after firefighters extinguished the blaze.
An autopsy determined Michelle Pabst died of multiple sharp and blunt-force injuries, while her son was stabbed multiple times.
Palmer received a 30-year sentence Friday for the child's death and a consecutive 25-year term for his girlfriend's death. He'll have to serve more than 51 years before he becomes eligible for parole.