DULUTH — A Virginia man was sentenced to 40 years in prison Monday for stabbing to death a former girlfriend he had a history of assaulting.

Derek Edward Malevich received the maximum sentence after pleading guilty last month to second-degree intentional murder in the 2021 death of Kristen Bicking. He will serve an additional consecutive sentence of more than eight years for first-degree aggravated witness tampering.

Bicking, of Virginia, was 32 at the time of her death. She worked as a nursing assistant in area nursing homes and enjoyed travel, nature and her dog Charlie, according to her obituary.

In the early hours of May 12, 2021, Malevich called 911 to request an ambulance. He told authorities that he had interrupted someone who was stealing from him and had bashed the person's head in and stabbed them. Only then did he discover it was his girlfriend, according to the criminal complaint. Malevich left the apartment before authorities got there and later was found at a nearby hotel. Bicking was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Bicking had told the Virginia Police Department in 2020 that she had been choked by Malevich. Authorities at the time described her as having bruises, crusted blood on her body and a bump on her forehead that was larger than a golf ball, according to court documents.