Courtroom gavel
A courtroom gavel. File photo

 A woman who pleaded guilty to the killing of a Carlsbad resident who was stabbed nearly 150 times was sentenced Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Malissa James, 29, previously faced a possible death sentence for March 11, 2019, killing 63-year-old Marjorie Gawitt. But James pleaded guilty to murder last fall, sparing her capital punishment.

Her co-defendant, 39-year-old Ian Forrester Bushee, remains charged with murder and is scheduled for trial in May.

The defendants, both of whom officials identified as transients, allegedly broke into Gawitt’s home at around 12:30 a.m.

Preliminary hearing testimony indicated Gawitt was stabbed or slashed 142 times, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Gawitt, who called 911 to report that she had been attacked at her home on Outrigger Lane, died at a hospital shortly after arrival.

Authorities searched for the burglars by ground and aboard a law enforcement helicopter throughout the morning. Shortly before noon, the defendants were arrested near Agua Hedionda Lagoon in an open, brushy area of the 4800 block of Park Drive, less than a mile away from the victim’s home.

–City News Service