AUGUSTA — The man who stabbed Jillian T. Jones 12 times – twice through the neck – will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Justin Pillsbury, now 41, formerly of Augusta and Benton, was sentenced Thursday at the Capital Judicial Center to 50 years in prison for the Nov. 13, 2013 murder of Jones, 24. He was convicted on March 17 in the same courthouse.

Pillsbury testified at his jury trial in March that he acted in self-defense, stabbing his girlfriend in Augusta only after she came after him with a knife, cutting him above the eye and on the hand and forearm as he tried to disarm her during an argument over her cellphone.

Pillsbury said he had been drinking for most of the day.

“I didn’t intend to kill the love of my life,” Pillsbury said on the final day of the trial. “I was intoxicated.”

On Thursday, he apologized to her family and her friends, many of whom were sitting in the courtroom. “I’m so sorry that I killed Jillian,” he said.

The prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Donald Macomber, recommended Pillsbury be imprisoned for 55 years. Defense attorney Stephen Smith, in his sentencing memo submitted to the court, recommended a 30-year term.

Jones’ body was found slumped against the bathroom wall in a Crosby Street apartment rented by Michael St. Pierre. Pillsbury and Jones had been staying there so Pillsbury was closer to his job in Augusta.

“I can only imagine the fear that she felt as she stood on the other side of that bathroom door knowing that her life was about to end,” Macomber said.

Jones’ mother, Laura Jones, spoke of her daughter in the present tense, saying, “I believe she is alive and well in heaven.”

She said Jillian Jones had struggled with depression and substance abuse, but was ready to move forward, excelling at cosmetology school to be able to support herself and her daughter, Brooklyn. Brooklyn is to be adopted soon by Laura and Danny Jones, Jillian Jones’ parents.

Jones, who grew up in Bingham, was attending beauty school in Waterville.

Pillsbury stabbed himself in the neck shortly after stabbing Jones, and St. Pierre testified – under a grant of immunity from the state – that he helped sharpen the knife for Pillsbury before seeking help.

At trial, Macomber told the jury that Pillsbury was jealous of Jones’ interactions with other men. He said Pillsbury had taken Jones’ cellphone to see whom she had been communicating with, and Jones fought him to get it back, when the dispute turned deadly.

On Thursday, Justice Michaela Murphy told those in the courtroom that she recognized that any sentence she imposed would mean life in prison for Pillsbury because of his age.