Lashaun Smith in court

Lashaun Smith, 37, pleaded guilty to murder last month after initially rejecting a plea deal.

MAYS LANDING — An Egg Harbor Township man accused of beating his girlfriend to death in with a hammer in November of last year is slated to appear in court Thursday.

Lashaun Smith, 36, who is charged with murder and unlawful possession of a weapon in the death of his girlfriend, 28-year-old Sarah Phillips, is scheduled to appear for a pretrial conference at 9 a.m. before Judge Bernard E. DeLury Jr. in Atlantic County Superior Court.

Smith, represented by public defender Stephen Funk, pleaded not guilty at his post-indictment arraignment in December.

Smith was arrested after Egg Harbor Township police, responding to a call at 5:04 a.m. Nov. 3, 2017, found Phillips inside a home on the first block of South Zion Road.

An investigation by the prosecutor’s Major Crimes Unit and township police found Phillips was struck multiple times with a hammer. An autopsy determined the cause of death to be homicide due to multiple blunt- and sharp-force injuries.

Smith is currently housed in Atlantic County jail.

Contact: 609-272-7241

Twitter @ACPressMollyB

Staff Writer

My beat is public safety, following police and crime. I started in January 2018 here at the Press covering Egg Harbor and Galloway townships. Before that, I worked at the Reading Eagle in Reading, Pa., covering crime and writing obituaries.

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