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Man given life in prison in girlfriend strangling

LAWRENCEVILLE - Jurors deliberated for a mere hour Friday morning before agreeing that Andres Luis Rodriguez-Nova strangled his hog-tied girlfriend with a phone cord last year.

Rodriguez-Nova was convicted on all counts, which include murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, aggravated battery and false imprisonment.

Superior Court Judge Tom Davis sentenced Rodriguez-Nova, 40, to life in prison plus 10 years, said Assistant District Attorney David Keeton.

An enraged Rodriguez-Nova strangled his lover, Elba Mejia-Mesa, 44, in June last year because he suspected she'd been unfaithful. Later that day, he called 911 to report he'd killed the victim in her Lake Colony Apartments home near Norcross.

He later told police his girlfriend's last words were to remind him of the consequences his actions would have on his and her children, according to testimony this week.

Rodriguez-Nova's defense attorney, David Whitman, had argued for consideration of a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter, theorizing that his discovery of the victim's alleged infidelity provoked him to kill her in a sudden act of passion, Keeton said.

Prosecutors pointed out that some time had elapsed between Rodriguez-Nova's first confronting the victim and her death. In the interim, he admitted to threatening her with a knife, tying her hands and feet with duct tape, dousing her in pepper spray and eventually strangling her with the cord of a cell-phone charger.

Friends of Mejia-Mesa said she left behind two children whom she supported by working at a taqueria near Norcross.

Rodriguez-Nova has five children of his own in the Dominican Republic, his attorney said.