A judge on Wednesday imposed the life sentence a Fredericksburg jury had recommended for man who killed his former girlfriend in the city in 2017.

Cortez Antonio Mills, 36, shot 26-year-old Antoinette Beverly three times while the victim was sitting in her car on Palmer Street the night of Sept. 9, 2017. Beverly, who was shot in the head, chest and elbow, smashed into a utility pole with her car after she was shot.

Mills and Beverly had a longtime relationship that had soured. Beverly had put Mills out of her home in Caroline County a week before her death.

Mills was convicted in Fredericksburg Circuit Court in March of first-degree murder and two firearms charges. He was sentenced to life plus eight years in prison.

Judge Gordon Willis’ decision followed a sentencing hearing that included testimony from Beverly’s parents and her godfather. The godfather, David McCay, briefly broke down on the witness stand before directing some comments at Mills.

“Mr. Mills, you took a beautiful life and you have shown no remorse at all,” McCay said.

Defense attorney Tim Barbrow asked Willis for a sentence within or below the recommended state sentencing guidelines, which called for a prison term of between 42 and 70 years.

Barbrow argued that Mills’ record, which includes a malicious wounding conviction, wasn’t “terrible” and repeated Mills’ claim that Beverly had spit on him and said vile things prior to the shooting.

“He lost it,” Barbrow said. “It just came out of nowhere.”

Commonwealth’s Attorney LaBravia Jenkins scoffed at the allegation that Beverly did anything to Mills and argued that even if she did, it in no way justified Mills’ actions.

“Mr. Mills deserves exactly what the jury gave him, which is life in prison,” Jenkins said.

Prior to the sentencing hearing, Willis presided over a lengthy motions hearing during which Barbrow tried to get the judge to order a new trial for Mills.

Barbrow made several claims that he said merited a new trial, but Willis denied all of them.

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Keith Epps: 540/374-5404


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