A former Richmond County deputy pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison for the killing of his girlfriend in June 2020.
In addition to his life sentence, Richmond County Superior Court Jesse Stone sentenced Jason Cunningham to five years in confinement for possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. The victim was 37-year-old Nicole Harrington of Florida, who was survived by her three children.
Cunningham Shot Harrington After She Insulted Size of His Manhood During Argument
Augusta District Attorney Jared Williams said Cunningham was married to another woman but having an affair with Harrington, who was unaware he was married. "This was an extramarital affair in which the defendant was living a double life," Williams said. "According to the defendant, he shot the victim for insulting the size of his manhood."
The pair argued about her seeing another man, known as Maui, for over an hour before heading to dinner. On the way, Harrington commented that "at least Maui has a large penis," and Cunningham shot her point-blank in the head, Williams said. Her body would remain in the elevator overnight until it was found the next morning, Williams said.
Cunningham Told Hid Colleagues About 'Doing Something Really Bad'
Cunningham hinted to his law-enforcement friends about "doing something really bad" but did not surrender, Williams said. He went to Pointes West Army Resort and had an armed standoff with police for nearly eight hours. He later confessed to killing Harrington, the DA said.
Cunningham served as a Richmond County Sheriff's deputy for 18 years before losing his job for failing drug tests. He was director of marketing for Forces United, the veteran organization, at the time of his arrest.
Defense Claimed Cunningham Had a Tough Childhood
His defense attorney, Jennifer Cross, said Cunningham had been abused as a child and struggled to overcome his childhood trauma. She said Cunningham had co-founded a Pittsburg Steelers fan group that conducted fundraisers for area charities.
Cunningham said he apologized to Harrington's family, friends and children and said they could visit him in prison. Crying, he said he was "not a monster." He told his own family and friends not to attend the hearing, he said.
"This is a tragic event" with "an appropriate disposition," Stone said.
Cunningham accepting responsibility perhaps led to his chance of parole in 35 years, during which he'll have time to "fully reflect" on his actions, Judge Stone said.