Shirley man gets life without parole in slaying of estranged girlfriend

A Shirley man was sentenced today to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the 2010 torture and murder of his estranged girlfriend, who was killed in the basement of his mother’s home, Middlesex prosecutors said.

Robert Gulla, 21, was found guilty Wednesday of first-degree murder for the Jan. 23, 2010, stabbing death of 19-year-old Allison Myrick, District Attorney Gerard T. Leone’s office said.

Gulla beat Myrick, stabbed her repeatedly, and shot her in the head with a pellet gun in the basement of his Shirley home. Gulla and Myrick met in September 2009 and dated for a time, Leone said. Four days before her murder, Myrick obtained a restraining order against Gulla.

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“The defendant brutally attacked, tortured, and murdered his former girlfriend,” Leone said in a statement. “This is a tragic case, and combating domestic violence remains a priority point of focus for this office. We will continue to do everything we can do break down the barriers against disclosure, identify these crimes, keep victims safe, and enforce the laws against abusers.”

In her opening statement earlier this month, Assistant District Attorney Lisa McGovern told jurors that Gulla was obsessed with Myrick, who had broken off their relationship.

“He wanted her all to himself,’’ McGovern told jurors.

The prosecutor also said Gulla was ruthless when he launched the fatal attack on Myrick. He stabbed her in the head, abdomen, back — and then he slashed her throat, McGovern said.

“She was alive when she was slashed in the throat,’’ McGovern said in court.

Gulla’s trial lasted 11 days; a Middlesex Superior Court jury deliberated for just 90 minutes before announcing its verdict Wednesday.