updated 10/17/2006 6:30:58 PM ET 2006-10-17T22:30:58

A man who authorities say strangled his pregnant girlfriend because she would not get an abortion was convicted Tuesday of murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Stephen Poaches, 27, was found guilty after a non-jury trial in the slayings of 24-year-old LaToyia Figueroa and the fetus she was carrying. He gave up his right to appeal, and prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty.

“He did not want this child to be born,” prosecutor Carlos Vega said.

Figueroa had been missing for more than a month when a detective acting on a tip followed Poaches to a parking lot where he had hidden her body. He was apparently trying to move the body.

Poaches told police that he choked Figueroa after she struck him in the face and shoulder during an argument in his apartment. Poaches’ lawyer argued that he should be convicted only of voluntary manslaughter.

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