Man sentenced to 25 years in prison for girlfriend’s murder

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A man was sentenced to 25 years behind bars Friday for the 2014 stabbing death of Lena Elaine Smith.

Smith, 45, was found dead in her apartment on Tidewater Drive on January 3, 2014. Police said she had a relationship with Ulysses James.

Police arrested James, 52, in May 2014. He entered an Alford plea in January 2015. The plea acknowledges there is sufficient evidence for a conviction, but doesn’t admit guilt.

A jury convicted James of second-degree murder in August. They suggested a sentence of 25 years. On Friday, a judge imposed the jury’s recommended sentence.

James was also sentenced to six years in prison for probation violations. As a result, he will serve a total of 31 years in prison.