Boyfriend sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to strangling 19-year-old

A Covington man was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty Wednesday to strangling his 19-year-old girlfriend 2½ years ago, according to the Newton County District Attorney’s Office.

Jury selection just started Monday in the case of 21-year-old Elijah Romoutar on charges of malice murder, felony murder and aggravated assault.

“In the middle of the state’s sixth witness,” the DA’s office said in a statement, “the defendant indicated that he wanted to plead guilty to all the charges against him.”

Romoutar was 19 when he was arrested in connection with the Dec. 6, 2016, death of Alyssa Wright.

Wright’s family previously told Channel 2 Action News that the teen went to Ramoutar’s Wright Birch Drive home the night before her body was found.

“We were sitting on the bed, laughing, joking about things that were starting to look up for us,” Melinda Wright said. “She said, ‘Bye. I love you. I’ll be back.’”

Newton deputies were sent to residence after one of Romoutar’s relatives called 911. The family member, prosecutors said, told authorities Romoutar reached out and said he had killed his girlfriend.

Deputies found him behind the house, and Wright was found dead inside, according to prosecutors. He confessed to law enforcement, too, they said. An autopsy by the GBI found that Wright died from strangulation.

It’s not clear why Romoutar killed Wright. There were no signs of issues between the couple, Wright’s family said.

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After accepting Romoutar’s guilty plea, Superior Court Judge Samuel Ozburn handed down the sentence.