MAYS LANDING — “If I come up dead, you know who to go after,” Debi Mason told her daughter in quiet telephone conversations as she prepared to leave her longtime boyfriend.

So, when Mason was shot to death the night before Thanksgiving 2014 inside the Mays Landing home she and Joseph Morrison shared, her three children knew who to blame.

Morrison, 62, was sentenced to 18 years in prison Friday for shooting his girlfriend of 15 years in the kitchen of the home they shared.

He smoked a cigarette as he watched her die before calling 911, Superior Court Judge Michael Blee said.

“There is a hole within me that will never be filled…when I think of what this pathetic, selfish monster did,” said Mason’s only daughter, Shawn Mason.

Morrison and Debi Mason had been together about 15 years. But there was evidence in that Mason had been “working up the courage to leave Morrison in the months prior to her death,” Assistant Prosecutor Danielle Buckley told the judge before sentencing. “She would hide out back to talk to her daughter Shawn Mason about her plans, telling her, ‘If I come up dead, you know who to go after.’”

Morrison admitted last month that he shot Mason in chest while they were in the kitchen at about 9:55 p.m. Nov. 26, 2014. When asked why, he replied: “Stupidity.”

Brian Mason was in his bedroom when the shooting happened. His mother and Morrison had argued earlier in the day, and the mother and son talked about it.

“I begged her to give me the gun that eventually killed her,” Brian Mason told Superior Court Judge Michael Blee on Friday. “I will relieve that moment until the day I die.”

John Mason was preparing to get married when his mother was killed. He said it was the “little things” that continue to bring pain.

“When I think to reach out and call my mom, I feel the pain, knowing that she’s not there,” he said.

Morrison “victimized not just Debra Mason, but an entire family,” Blee said before imposing sentence.

“It is not only the loss of life but the loss of memories that will haunt this family for the rest of their lives,” the judge said.

Morrison must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence — or 15 years, 3 months and 18 days —before he is eligible for parole. He would be nearly 77 before he could be free.

Blee also ordered that Morrison have no contact with the victim’s family.

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